French composer. His piano pieces, such as the three Gymnopédies (1888), are precise and tinged with melancholy, and parody romantic expression with surreal commentary. His aesthetic of ironic simplicity, as in the Messe des pauvres/Poor People's Mass (1895), acted as a nationalist antidote to the perceived excesses of German Romanticism.
Mentor of the group of composers Les Six, Satie promoted the concept of musique d'ameublement (‘furniture music’), anticipating the impact of radio. A commission from Diaghilev led to the ballet Parade (1917), with instrumentation for siren, typewriter, and steamship whistle, and he invented a new style of film music for René Clair's Entr'acte (1924).
His father was a composer and music publisher in Paris and his mother a minor composer of piano pieces under the name of Eugénie Satie-Barnetsche. Satie spent only a year at the Paris Conservatory and later made a precarious living by playing at cafés and writing music for the Montmartre songwriter Hypsa and the music-hall singer Paulette Darty. Through his friendship with Debussy, about 1890, he came into contact with intellectual circles. He also studied at the Schola Cantorum under Vincent d'Indy and Albert Roussel at the age of 40. He continued to publish small piano works under eccentric titles. In later years he came into touch with Jean Cocteau and established a school at Arcueil where he exercised some influence on younger composers including Poulenc, Auric, and Milhaud, leading them away from the late Romantic style influenced by German composers, especially Wagner, towards a terser, more concise and epigrammatic style.
WorksStage and choral symphonic drama Socrate (1920); ballets, including Parade (1917), Relâche (1924), Mercure (1924).
Piano piano pieces, including Trois gymnopédies (1888), Trois gnossiennes (1890), Sonneries de la rose-croix, Trois véritables préludes flasques (pour un chien), Trois embryons desséchés (1913), Trois croquis et agaceries d'un gros bonhomme en bois (1913), Trois Chapitres tournés en tous sens (1913), Avant-dernières pensées; Trois morceaux en forme de poire for piano duet (1903).
Other four sets of songs.
Satie, Erik (Alfred Leslie)