Introduction To The Composer | Erik Satie
Erik Satie was born on May 17th, 1866, in Honfleur, France.
Largely considered to be one of the first avant-garde musicians, the clarity and simplicity of Satie’s music seems to be in direct opposition of the more heavily favored German Romantic symphony, Wagnerian opera, and French impressionism.
His rebellion against such musical forms is said to have had a major influence on future 20th century composers such as John Cage.
Early in his career Satie did little composing, but instead worked as a pianist in bars and cabarets in Montmartre, Paris, France. This may in part be responsible for the sardonic humor and straightforwardness of his compositions.
Examples of such being the intentionally obscure titles like, “Things Seen From The Right And Left Without Spectacles”, “Three Flabby Preludes For A Dog”, and the seven-piece set entitled, “Three Pear-Shaped Pieces”.
His more famous earlier piano works include the set of 3 piano compositions entitled, “Gymnopedies”, as well as “Gnossienne”, a set of 6 piano pieces.
In February of 1897 Satie’s good friend Claude Debussy, in an effort to revitalize Satie’s fading popularity, orchestrated the first and third installments of Gymnopedies, deeming that the second did not lend itself to orchestration.
Erik Satie died of sclerosis of the liver on July 1st, 1925, in Paris, France at the age of 59.
Arnold Schoenberg was born on September 13th, 1874, in Vienna, Austria.
Largely self taught from an early age, Schoenberg began studying composition and learned how to play the violin by the age of 8, later going on to teach himself how to play the cello. One of his earliest musical mentors was a composer and conductor by the name of Alexander von Zemlinsky, with whom he studied counterpoint, and whose sister would later go on to be Schoenberg’s first wife.