KPFA-FM Music Dept. ➔ Erik Satie: The Man, His Music, and His Times

Analog Audio

Event Type
Program Length
56 min
| broadcast
| 1968-08-05 | created
Recorded in 1968, program producer and narrator Anne Dengler presents a documentary on the French avant-garde composer and pianist Erik Satie. Born in 1866 Satie was an eccentric figure whose penchant for fine velvet suits and soft piano music made him stand out, and even in the radical milieu of turn of the 20th century Paris, Erik Satie was always just a little bit ahead of his times. Indeed much of his piano music and theatrical orchestral works can be considered as a precursor for the repetitive or minimalist music of Philip Glass or John Cage and the theater works of the Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett. Although he studied music at the Paris Conservatoire he was never considered a great talent by the premiere academic composers of his day, and although he did eventually win the admiration of a younger set of more radical composers, his was a fame that, while alive, was always found at the edges of society. A spiritual man, Satie was the official composer of the Ordre de la Rose-Croix Catholique, du Temple et du Graal or Rosicrucian Order before branching off and establishing his very own esoteric sect. By the early 20th century he found common ground with an assortment of radical artists and collaborated with such modern art icons as Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Georges Auric, and René Clair, among others. Dengler provides much in the way of biographical detail, illustrating her points with excerpts from Satie’s music as well as short dramatic readings from his diaries and letters.

Note: Unfortunately much of the excerpted music is unidentified and if there are any Satie aficionados that can help identify these works please contact the Other Minds Archives.
Classical music
20th century classical
Musical Selections
[excerpt of unidentified orchestral music by either Charles Gounod or Camille Saint-Saëns] (3:15) -- Trois Sarabandes, for piano [excerpt] (1887, rev. 1911) (3:16) / Erik Satie -- [unidentified music, possibly an excerpt from “Trois Sarabandes”], for piano (2:27) / Erik Satie -- [unidentified work for organ, possibly “Modéré”,” possibly an excerpt (1:43) / Erik Satie -- [a selection of excerpts of unidentified piano music] / Erik Satie -- [excerpt of unidentified orchestral music, possibly from the ballet “Relâche”] (3:50) / Erik Satie
19th century classical
20th century classical
Orchestral music
Piano music
Organ music
Funding for the preservation of this program made possible through a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.