04 October 2021

Erik Satie meets Einstein as a pear

I have been learning a few of these pieces in the last year. It's an exercise in patience, something I have developed studying music late in life. They are not difficult at all except that to memorise them requires diligence, a cousin to discipline. But I am getting there, the body (fingers) has a wonderful memory mechanism almost oblivious to what goes on in one's head. Play them play them play them is the only way up the mountainside!

In many of Satie's small compositions there is no indication of time or measures. The small black and white notes are only held together by a cohesion of the harmonic line. They appear as small birds alighting briefly on telephone wires, flitting upward and dropping below seemingly at random in the winter sky. 

For Satie, like Einstein, Time doesn't exist, it was created by Humankind to create order out of a dis-ordered and natural world.

The Buddha-wise-guys in the East also share this understanding. Time is but a concept to measure and quantify passing moments. 

Time for a composer is a way to arrange a framework within which the musician and singer can operate, and unlike our ticking clock it is arbitrary. It is a composer's choice, a kind of map with which to navigate a musical idea. 

Here is a remake of the original Parade for which Satie created the music. A lovely 'carte postale' from some of the infamous Avant-garde. And it is interesting to note that it was made during a time when French, British, Belgian, American soldiers, and other poor souls from colonial outposts were being sent to their deaths daily in the first World War, a war which they all, at the time, imagined to be the last great war.

More to be revealed.

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