Erik Satie

Heures séculaires et instantanées (Age-old and instantaneous hours), pieces (3) for piano

    Description by James Reel

    Between about 1911 and 1917, Satie turned his attention from the sometimes dour music he'd written during his late studies of counterpoint at the Schola Cantorum and the repetitive, mystical style of his earlier Rosicrucian period, to quirky miniatures composed especially for pianist Ricardo Viñes, who introduced and promulgated many works by the likes of Ravel and Falla. Satie dedicated one such suite of three pieces, Heures séculaires et instantanées, to the imaginary figure Sir William Grant-Plumot, and laced the score with a surreal commentary he insisted should not be read aloud during performance. Whether the text has any direct bearing on the music is debatable, but it does reinforce the music's absurdist nature. The suite's first movement, "Obstacles venimeux" (Venemous Obstacles), begins with a limping, comically discordant figure that soon receives a more flowing treatment that is interrupted by quickly shifting march-like fragments. The limping version of the theme closes the piece. "Crépuscule matinal (de midi)," which translates as Morningtime Twilight (at Noon), begins with another fragmentary march that is constantly interrupted by a nattering motif and soon collapses in volleys of hiccups. "Affolements granitiques" (Granitic Panic) begins with an urgent little phrase repeated several times, which becomes the basis of several upward-rising gestures that abruptly end.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Obstacles vénimeux (Venous Obstacles)
    2. Crépuscule matinal; de midi (Morning Twilight; Noon)
    3. Affolements granitiques (Granitic Distractions)

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95350BR
    2015 Harmonia Mundi / Little Village LVC 69020004
    2015 Erato / Warner Classics 0825646047963
    2014 Skarbo DSK 3135
    2014 Harmonia Mundi HMX 290871015
    2013 United Classics CD 2012140
    2012 EMI Classics
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94087
    2011 Warner Classics 672411
    2011 Warner Classics 2564672635
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968582
    2009 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099968635
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 902017
    2009 Harmonia Mundi HMC902017/18
    2008 Virgin Classics 562466
    2008 Virgin Classics 22050
    2007 Scandinavian Classics 220504
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93559
    2005 Virgin 59515
    2005 Erato / Virgin Classics 7243482002
    2005 Ddd 99384
    2003 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243585602
    2003 Decca 000023002
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74534
    2002 Forlane 16591
    2002 Virgin 545533
    2000 Mandala 4975/79
    1998 EMI Music Distribution 72814
    1995 Accord 200902
    1995 Naxos 8 550699
    1994 Mandala 4821
    1992 Vox 5011
    1989 Hyperion CDH55175
    1989 Hyperion CDA66344
    1989 EMI Music Distribution 62774
    1989 Decca / London 421713
    Classico 109
    Accord 201022
    Accord 22052
    Virgin Classics 62363
    Brilliant Classics 93559/3
    Nuova Era 7202
    Collins Records 10532
    Collins Records 1053