Erik Satie

Pièces froides (Cold Pieces), pieces (6) for piano

    Description by Alexander Carpenter

    Satie completed his Pièces froides for piano in 1897. The work has two sets of three pieces, designated "Airs à faire fuir" (Tunes to Make You Run Away) and "Danses de travers" (Crooked Dances). The simplicity and charm of these pieces are reminiscent of Satie's early piano works, especially the Gnossiennes and Gymnopédies of the late 1880s: it shares with these pieces a tendency to present a single musical idea from a number of different perspectives. Pièces froides, with its 2x3 construction, also reflects Satie's interest in the number three, evident in many of his works for piano. The first set combines spare melodic lines, linear textures, and simple repeating left-hand figures. All together, the three pieces make up a perfectly symmetrical ternary form, with the first and third pieces having the same number of measures. The outer pieces feature symmetrical phrasing, gentle dissonances, and many motives, while the middle piece has asymmetrical phrasing and less motivic variety. There is a simple tonal plan to the music, essentially defining the tonic/dominant relationship; however, Satie also employs tonal chords in unexpected ways, and uses dissonance to undermine harmonic movement. The second set of pieces is in stark contrast to the previous set. They are formally looser and essentially based on a single idea, which is stated at the beginning of the first piece. Each piece in this set basically begins in the same way, though with the main musical idea -- a narrow melodic line enmeshed with its arpeggiated accompaniment -- slightly altered each time. The "Danse de travers" also differs from the "Airs à faire fuir" in that it features more harmonic movement, frequently shifting between remotely related key areas.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Airs à faire fuir (Tunes to Make You Run Away) I: D'une manière très particulière
    2. Airs à faire fuir (Tunes to Make You Run Away) II: Modestemente
    3. Airs à faire fuir (Tunes to Make You Run Away) III: S'inviter
    4. Danses de travers (Crooked Dances) I: En y regardant à deux fois
    5. Danses de travers (Crooked Dances) II: Passer
    6. Danses de travers (Crooked Dances) III: Encore

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Aparte AP 116
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95350BR
    2016 ABC Classics ABC 4812670
    2015 Erato / Warner Classics 0825646047963
    2014 Bella Musica BM 312453
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94768BR
    2013 Praga PRD 250299
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099967815326
    2012 Decca
    2012 Decca 4783364
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94087
    2010 Decca
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968582
    2010 Denon Records
    2009 Equilibrium 94
    2009 Romeo Entertainment / Romeo Records 7278/9
    2009 Sony BMG / Sony Classical 8869753207
    2008 ABC Classics 4766805
    2008 Virgin Classics 562466
    2008 Virgin Classics 22050
    2007 Scandinavian Classics 220510
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93559
    2007 ABC Classics 4766289
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93302
    2007 Brilliant 93180
    2006 Philips 4657706
    2005 Saphir Productions 001002
    2005 Erato / Virgin Classics 7243482002
    2005 Ddd 99384
    2004 MSR Classics 1097
    2004 KHA celletti3
    2003 MDG 6131065
    2003 Classic Collection 99896
    2003 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243585602
    2003 Decca 000023002
    2003 EMI Classics
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74534
    2002 Forlane 16591
    2002 Virgin 545533
    2002 Inside Out Music 31982
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 568994
    2000 Decca
    2000 Philips 4681602
    2000 Mandala 4975/79
    1999 Calliope 9884
    1998 Denon Records 17019
    1998 Philips 462161
    1996 Decca 444958
    1995 DG Deutsche Grammophon 439767
    1995 Classico 126
    1994 BIS 317
    1994 Mandala 4821
    1994 Naxos 550697
    1993 Denon Records 7485
    1993 Virgin / Virgin Classics 59296
    1992 Vox 5011
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 67282
    1989 Decca / London 421713
    Accord 201022
    Accord 200072
    Virgin Classics 62363
    Brilliant 93180/24
    Brilliant Classics 93559/1
    Conifer 51512
    Collins Records 10532
    Collins Records 1053
    Fanfare 3439