Erik Satie

Menus propos enfantins (Childish Chatter), for piano (from "Enfantines")

    Description by Alexander Carpenter

    Menus propos enfantins consists of three beginner pieces for piano. Satie composed three sets of "Enfantines," each with three pieces: all nine were composed in October of 1913. Each set uses a different five-finger scale, using only the white keys of the piano. Satie is generally characterized as always having maintained a childlike view of music, and perhaps that is why the music that he wrote for children is so enduring. He once stated, famously: "When I was young, people used to say to me: Wait until you're fifty, you'll see. I am fifty. I haven't seen anything." The innocence and naivete of children was greatly valued by Satie, and he sought to capture something of it in all of his pieces; however, it is in these little children's pieces that Satie's deep affinity for children and the childish becomes clear.

    This set of "Enfantines" consists of "Le chant guerrier du Roi des Haricots," "Ce qui dit la petite Princesse de Tulipes," and "Valse du Chocolat aux Amandes." The titles of these pieces alone suggest Satie's childish side (and of course, it is not only in the children's pieces that one finds silly Satiean titles). Menus, like the rest of the "Enfantines," are among Satie's few works that are genuinely easy to play; most of his piano music is deceptively simple, requiring considerable skill to play properly. These pieces have a two-part texture, are played only on the white keys, and are cast in simple binary or ternary forms. The melodies are charming, smooth, and conjunct, and are generally diatonic. It is also notable that, as with much of his solo piano music, Satie included whimsical, occasionally nonsensical running commentary in the score.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Chant guerrier du roi des haricots
    2. Ce qui dit la petite princesse des Tulipes
    3. Valse du Chocolat aux amandes

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 BIS BIS 2225
    2016 Steinway & Sons STNS 30043
    2015 Erato / Warner Classics 0825646047963
    2013 AIX Records AIX 81068
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94087
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968582
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93559
    2005 Centaur Records 2731
    2004 EMI Music Distribution TOCP-67507
    2003 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243585602
    2003 Decca 000023002
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74534
    2002 Forlane 16591
    2000 Mandala 4975/79
    1998 Vox 7545
    1994 Mandala 4821
    1994 Naxos 550305
    1992 Vox 5011
    Accord 201022
    Accord 221362
    Digital Concerto 747
    Brilliant Classics 93559/4