Election 2016

Sounding out Satie at 150, and a French modernism at the speed of life – The Boston Globe

bostonglobe.comIf you forgot to celebrate Erik Satie’s 150th birthday on May 17, he forgives you. Really, he does.

What’s that, you speak of a legacy worth honoring? A sesquicentenary? One imagines the urbane French composer in one of his gray corduroy suits — one of the seven identical gray-brown corduroy suits he owned — erupting in laughter at the pomposity these words suggest. “There is no school of Satie,” he once declared. “Satieism could never exist. I would oppose it.”

Well, the school’s founder may have revoked its charter, but the graduates mysteriously keep coming. Yes, living-room Cliburns far and wide still flock to those pearlescent and oh-so-playable “Gymnopédies”and “Gnossiennes,” his best known music. But also incubated within this school’s nonexistent walls have been the innovations of countless artists and, indeed, entire movements. Surrealism, minimalism, ambient music, Brian Eno, John Cage, Philip Glass: It’s hard to picture any of them without Satie.

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