Such execution was coherent with no exception, as not even one dissonant chord can be found in all four of the Ogives. Below is an example of the harmonised chords with accidentals to avoid tritones.
It is shown that the second and sixth chords both have the B-flat accidentals so that the B diminished chord was avoided and replaced by the more pleasing B-flat major chord. The same arrangement was applied to chords 14 and 18 of the next phrase.
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Satie noticed the B-flat accidental would then turn chord 21 to an E diminished chord and therefore he carefully applied a natural to this chord to avoid any tritones. The stillness of these pieces is further enhanced by the choice of longer-duration rhythmic values. Only semibreves, minims, crotchets and quavers are used, with crotchets being the most frequent choice. The very slow tempo offered ample time for the block chords to ring with the use of sustained pedal. As a result, the combination of the slow tempo, simple single-line melody and block chords produced sonorities mimicking the sound of church bells.
For instance, the harmonisation of the main melody in the third system of each of the Ogives is different from the second and the fourth systems. In the case of Satie, interdisciplinary study is crucial in order to understand his compositional thoughts and to derive assumptions on how to perform his pieces, which often contain very limited performance directions. Do the trees in the scenery grimace? What we must do is create a musical scenery, a musical atmosphere in which the characters move and talk.
Symbolism in art infused with mysticism, which was no doubt one of the reasons why Satie was particularly interested in de Chavannes. To give a more practical description, Puvis de Chavannes emphasised two-dimensional wall art painting by nearly eliminating chiaroscuro high contrast and produced figurations in which flat shapes and colours were dominant.
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This resulted in figures that lacked gravity, weight and volume. Colours were increasingly whitened and an opaque medium with a matte finish was the final device to rid the overall painting of reflection and preserve the two-dimensional nature of his art in the simplest form. He kept a simple range of colours for each painting and used them consistently. During the application of the limited pigments, he maintained the principle of simplicity by applying the paint with just one or two layers. Understandably, in order to avoid any reflection of the images, no glazes were observed in his murals.
It was only very rarely that his murals revealed a third layer among one of the numerous cross-sections taken for examination. The textures of his paint clearly differed as thick dry impastos and thin, lean layers that revealed the coarse texture of the canvas. Puvis was also content to have some areas of canvas uncovered, especially outlining figures and trees, which often revealed what appears to be a charcoal underdrawing. First, it could be said that the two-dimensional characteristic was prominent in the Ogives. The heterophonic texture ruled out a compositional style that involves layers of melodic lines, such as two-part inventions or compositions in fugal style.
This would result in the opposite style to what Satie strived for — the two-dimensional characteristics and the principle of simplicity. Colour in music is generally understood to refer to tone colour timbre and harmonic colour. The use of dissonance adds harmonic colour to a piece of music.
For instance, a chain of major chords followed by a dissonant chord would instantly change the harmonic colour of the piece and such a device is lacking in the Ogives. Referring back to Ex.
Simply altering the note from G to F sharp, Satie achieved a subtle change of harmony from a G-major tonic chord in first inversion to a B-minor root position tonic chord. The lack of gravitational pull towards the tonic and dominant in Ogives is something worth noting, as this is a fundamental idea for him that led him to compose pieces like Vexations which created a new experience in the way in which music was perceived. Instead of relying on developing musical ideas and being driven by the tonic and dominant gravitational pull, the piece relied on repetition.
Completely opposite to the harmonic language of Ogives, Satie composed Vexations with a huge number of tritones and none of these tritones were to be resolved. Figures lost gravity, weight, and volume. In no sense was Satie trying to work out chord progressions based on the principles of the traditional tonic-dominant harmonic gravitational pull that was crucial to all common practice music.
As a result, this work has no goal to head towards, no exposition, development and recapitulation, no drama and, most importantly, when examining the musical ideas within the structure of the piece, the beginning, the middle and the end of the piece are all the same. Performing the Rose-Croix Piano Works Ironically, while other composers of the later nineteenth century were busy exploiting new possibilities with piano composition and performance, none of this mattered for Satie, especially in his Rose-Croix pieces.
There is no opportunity to perform with a dramatic dynamic range, nor are there any virtuosic passages to impress audiences. The urge to perform a piece with romantic expressive gestures has therefore been suppressed. These descriptions seem to depict different moods or atmospheres rather than being, strictly speaking, performance indications.
Bois had eclectic interests in fields such as psychology, spiritualism, occultism, theosophy, astronomy and metaphysics. Apart from being slow, hieratic and ritualistic, it is in no way descriptive of the plays associated with it, for it has its own independent and purely musical logic. The punctuation phrase shown below Ex. On two occasions, this punctuation phrase only had three crotchet beats, half the length of the original phrase.
The poetic influence was not an impulse experiment but a reflection of his surrounding stimulation, as during the Rose-Croix period, he was heavily involved with the cabaret, an environment in which his compositional style was nurtured alongside musicians, painters, poets and satirists. In order to understand what Satie, from the angle of a poet, might have in mind on how this piece should be played, it is useful to consider the nature of the French language.
Philip Ball mentioned that French songs tend to have a rather regular pulse, as in French, the durations of adjacent vowels are more similar than in English. The application of pedal, if any, would be for legato effect on each block chord in order to create a smoother sound, similar to how one speaks and how poets recite poems in a fluent manner.
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Besides, using sustained pedals to help build a grander sound for the sake of achieving the ebbs and flows of the music are totally irrelevant simply because such ebbs and flows were not present in the mosaic structure pieces. This is quite similar to the case of Ogives, as the start, middle and end of each piece has no major difference in character. For this prelude, a single motif could appear at the start, in the middle or the end of a phrase. In Ex. Punctuation phrases appear twice — at the beginning of the second system and at the eighth crotchet beat of the third system.
Motif X is introduced midway between the two punctuation phrases, and it reappears in the seventh system, following another punctuation phrase and therefore marking the start of a new phrase. In order to achieve this, any expressive use of the pedal and agogics that would disturb the subtlety of the punctuation phrases is to be avoided.
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Throughout the piece, only crotchet rests and quaver rests were used. Under closer examination, when there is a pause in the discourse, this rest is consistently a quaver long. A quaver rest also appears after every punctuation phrase see Ex. It is logical to think that these quaver rests provide the short silence that symbolise one taking a breath in between long sentences or at the end of a full sentence.
The written music should be performed with the most plain and unvaried dynamic level. As different dynamic levels works in relation to each other, the choice of a particular dynamic level for the Rose-Croix pieces would vary between performers.
Such unconventional choices of musical presentation were frequently found in the Rose-Croix piano pieces and later compositions up until Chantons notre victoire! Quel supplice! Horace et Lydie Hymne d'amour Ich bin allein - Flieh', oh flieh', holdes Bild impressions improvisations Piano improvvisatore Instrumental music. Selections Introduction by Milton J. Cross Io son sol Seul Enfin!
Erik Satie - Music,Art and Literature
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