Erik Satie & Friends - Original Albums Collection Box set
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
A collection of 13CDs to celebrate Erik Satie's 150th birthday A box set of captivatingly idiosyncratic piano pieces, songs and ballets by Satie and his friends such as Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc Features famous and popular pieces such as Vexation, a forerunner of Minimalism or the simple, haunting Gymnopédies (1888) and Gnossiennes (1890) who have become universally familiar from their use in TV adverts and movies Five of the discs for the first time on CD Plus a 1950 historic recording (CD1) of Francis Poulenc playing not only his own piano pieces but also those of his friend Erik Satie
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
For that, look up the ten CD boxed set from Warner.*
This thirteen CD Box from Sony was rather curiously assembled
- Sony simply took every RCA and [American] Columbia LP that featured at least one composition by Erik Satie,
- along with all the other composers who shared that original LP with Satie,
and packaged them in an attractive "original jacket" box with a 48 page booklet.
The result is surprisingly satisfying.
This neatly puts put Satie into context with his contemporaries (sometimes to his detriment.)
Confession: I found EMI's "Complete Works of Erik Satie" to be rather hard going.
- The Sony box is a much more enjoyable listening experience.
The original recordings range from 1930 to 1979, so the recorded sound is variable.
Nine stereo CDs, four mono CDs.
Some Satie compositions are performed multiple times
- The complete Gymnopédies receive eight different performances (four each of the piano and orchestral versions)
All thirteen jackets have the original cover art and program notes in extremely fine print.
Vocal texts are not provided - the original jacket for the Crespin song recital promises that they will be found on a sheet inside the LP jacket. Hah!
PART ONE: MUSIC OF ERIK SATIE
(for the other composers in the Sony box, see Part Two - at the end of this review)
Stereo unless otherwise indicated:
- PIANO MUSIC
------ Francis Poulenc - rec.1950 mono
------ William Massellos - rec.1968
------ Philippe Entremont - rec.1970s
------ Daniel Varsano - rec.1979
- Avant Dernières Pensées - Poulenc, Entremont, Varsano
- Chapitres tournés en tous sen: Celle qui parle trop - Masselos
- Croquis et Agaceries d'un Gros Bonhomme en bois - Poulenc, Entremont
---- Croquis et Agaceries d'un Gros Bonhomme en bois: Españaña - Masselos
- Descriptions automatiques - Poulenc, Entremont,
- Embryons desséchés - Poulenc, Masselos, Varsano
- Gnossiennes No.1,2,3 - Masselos, Entremont, Varsano
---- Gnossienne No.3 - Poulenc
---- Gnossiennes No.4,5 - Varsano
- Gymnopédies No.1,2,3 - Masselos, Entremont (two recordings), Varsano
---- Gymnopédie No.1 - Poulenc
- Je te veux - Entremont
- Nocturne No.1 'Doux et calme - Entremont, Varsano
---- Nocturne No.3 'Un peu mouvementé' - Masselos
- Le Piège de Méduse - Masselos
- Poudre d'or - Entremont
- Premier Menuet - Masselos
- Sarabande No.1,3 - Varsano
---- Sarabande No.2 - Poulenc
- Sonatine Bureaucratique - Varsano
- Sports et Divertissements - Masselos
- Trois valses distinguées du précieux dégouté - Entremont, Varsano
- Véritables préludes flasques (pour un chien) - Masselos
- Vieux Sequins et Vieilles Cuirasses: Danse cuirasée - Masselos
------ Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
------ Jennie Tourel (mezzo-soprano), George Reeves (piano) - rec.1947 mono
------ Régine Crespin (soprano), Philippe Entremont (piano) - rec.1979
- 'Daphénéo' - Bernac, Crespin
- 'La statue de bronze' - Bernac, Crespin
- 'Le chapelier' - Bernac, Tourel, Crespin
- 'Je te veux' - Tourel, Crespin
- 'Tendrement' - Crespin
- 'L'omnibus automobile' - Crespin
- 'La diva de l'empire' - Crespin
- 'Chanson du Chat' - Crespin
SATIE PIANO 4 HANDS:
- En habit de cheval = Gold & Fizdale, rec.1952 mono
- Trois Morceaux En Forme De Poire = Gaby & Robert Casadesus, rec.1946 mono, 1959 stereo
SATIE ORCHESTRAL MUSIC
- Gymnopédies No.1 and 2 (orchestrated by Debussy)
------ Serge Koussevitzky, Boston Symphony - rec.1949 mono (+ 1930 recording of No.1)
------ Charles Gerhardt, National Philharmonic
------ André Previn, London Symphony (John de Lancie, oboe)
------ Philippe Entremont, Royal Philharmonic
------ Efrem Kurtz, Houston Symphony - rec.1949 mono
------ Philippe Entremont, Royal Philharmonic
------ Philippe Entremont, Royal Philharmonic
---------------------------- POINTS OF INTEREST ----------------------------
Three performers in this box were "friends" of Erik Satie (1866-1925):
---- Composer Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Young Poulenc had a close relationship with the elderly Satie, who encouraged his career.
Poulenc's performances of Satie's piano music have a certain authority, though Poulenc was not a professional pianist.
---- Pianist Robert Casadesus (1899-1972)
Along with Alfred Cortot, he was the leading French pianist of the Twentieth Century.
Satie had a friendship with the Casadesus family dating back to the 1880s.
Unfortunately neither Casadesus nor Cortot recorded any of Satie's solo piano music - Casadesus recorded some 4-hand piano music with his wife Gaby.
--- Conductor Serge Koussevitzky 1874-1951
For the last five years of Satie's life, Koussevitzky was conductor of the 'Concerts Koussevitzky' in Paris (he commissioned the Ravel orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition).
Koussevitzky's 1930 record of the First Gymnopédie with the Boston Symphony was recorded just five years after the composer's death.
-- The three Gymnopédies for piano, published in 1888, are the composer's best known compositions.
Almost as popular is Debussy's 1897 orchestration.
Confusingly, Debussy omits Gymnopédie No.2, and reverses the order of Numbers 1 and 3:
---- Orchestral Gymnopédie No.1 is Piano Gymnopédie No.3
---- Orchestral Gymnopédie No.2 is Piano Gymnopédie No.1
The new box includes four recordings of the three Gymnopédies for piano (+ an extra recording of No.1),
Plus four recordings of Debussy's orchestration of two Gymnopédies (+ an extra recording of No.1 - which was originally No. 3 - aargh)
Koussevitzky's 1949 recording of the Second Gymnopédie for Orchestra (disc 13, track 20) must be heard to be believed.
The Boston Symphony sounds like a Las Vegas lounge band.
No later recording has come this close to self-parody.
Satie would have loved it.
------------------ PART TWO: OTHER COMPOSERS IN THIS COLLECTION ------------------
Sony has a rather loose definition of "Friends of Erik Satie".
Of the ten composers, by most standards only Debussy and Ravel would count as actual "friends" of
---- The elderly Satie was a mentor to the youthful Poulenc and Milhaud.
---- I didn't think Saint-Saens was all that fond of Satie (open to correction)
---- Francaix was thirteen years old when Satie died.
-- Piano Concerto No.4 - Robert Casadesus (piano), Artur Rodzinski, New York Philharmonic - rec.1945 mono
-- Pièce pittoresque No.10: Scherzo-valse - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Trois Valses Romantiques - Robert & Gaby Casadesus (two pianos) - rec.1959
-- Song: 'L'ile heureuse' - Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Song: 'Villanelle des petits canards' - Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Impromptu No.3 in A flat major Op.34 - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Nocturne in D flat major, Op.63 - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Dolly Suite Op.56 - Robert & Gaby Casadesus (piano 4 hands) - rec.1959
-- Pavane, Op.50 - Charles Gerhardt, National Philharmonic
-- Prélude Book 1, No.8: 'La fille aux cheveux de lin' - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Rêverie - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Epigraphes antiques - Gold & Fizdale (piano 4 hands) - rec.1953 mono
-- Petite Suite - Robert & Gaby Casadesus (piano 4 hands) - rec.1959
-- Song: 'Beau Soir' - Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Song: 'L'échelonnement des haies' - Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Song: 'Le promenoir des deux amants' - Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Le Tombeau de Couperin: Rigaudon - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Pavane pour une infante défunte - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Alborada del gracioso (Miroirs No.4) - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Pavane pour une infante défunte - Charles Gerhardt, National Philharmonic
-- Le Tombeau de Couperin - Charles Gerhardt, National Philharmonic
-- Introduction & Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet - Charles Gerhardt, National Philharmonic
-- Song: 'Histoires naturelles' - Régine Crespin (soprano), Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Symphonie Concertante - John de Lancie (oboe), André Previn, London Symphony
-- Concertino d'automne for 2 Pianos and 8 Instruments - Gold & Fizdale (two pianos) - rec.1952 mono
-- Trois Mouvements perpétuels - Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Nocturne No.1 in C - Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Suite française - Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Trois pieces pour piano No.2: Toccata - Philippe Entremont (piano)
-- Sonata for Piano Four Hands - Gold & Fizdale (piano 4 hands) - rec.1953 mono
-- Song: 'Calligrammes' - Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Song: 'Main dominée par le coeur'- Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Song: 'Quatre poemes de Guillaume Apollinaire' - Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- Song: 'Tu vois le feu du soir' - Pierre Bernac (baritone), Francis Poulenc (piano) - rec.1950 mono
-- L'Horloge de flore - John de Lancie (oboe), André Previn, London Symphony
P.S. John de Lancie the oboist is the father of John de Lancie the actor (Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation)
* The "Complete Works of Erik Satie" on Warner = Eric Satie: The Complete Works (10CD)
This relatively unheralded Eric Satie box set is a superb little collection of music from a handful of French composers. Much more than a survey of the eccentric French composer's works, it features chamber music and music for chamber orchestra from Ravel, Debussy, Chabrier, Faure, Saint-Saens, Ibert, Milhaud, Poulenc and Francaix as well as Satie. This represents the entire glittering galaxy of renowned French composers during the late 19th and early 20th century. I collected many of the original albums on LP while growing-up so seeing them again with their liner notes intact stirs quite a few memories of a time when this music was utterly fresh and new to me. This emotional connection to music has been largely lost in the colder CD era when a fear of complexity caused record companies to eschew the older style of musical analysis in favor of marketing phrases and little pictures in small booklets. If you're a fan of French composers or wish a quick introduction, this collection is a fine place to begin.
The recordings are all analogue made between 1930 and November 1979, the dawn of the digital recording era. The mono recordings sound as if they've been remastered for this collection (Sony has been re-mastering these Original Album collections in 24-96 high-definition but then "down-shifting" them to red-book standard 16-44 for CD release). They sound cleaner, clearer and deeper than earlier monaural releases. Stereo recordings have greater clarity with a wider soundstage and a transparency that is perfect for this music. In fact, I was able to make a direct comparison with my copy of The French Touch LP which is one of the highlights of this collection. Ravel's Introduction & Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet, which is actually played by a string chamber orchestra as approved by Ravel, features harp playing that can only be called ravishing in its beauty and clarity on this new version. The original LPs have nothing of the beauty of tone, sonic clarity, presence and transparency that is found in most of the recordings in this collection.That holds true for all the comparisons I was able to make. Only the oldest recordings sound sonically compressed, which is unavoidable.
This collection is a marvelous introduction to a universe of beautiful music. At its moderate price and the way these sets quickly go out of print and then skyrocket in third-party asking price, you might want to audition it if at all possible. It is highly recommended and well worth the relatively small investment.