Erik Satie

Prélude de La Porte héroïque du ciel (Prelude to "The Heroic Gate of Heaven"), incidental music for piano (or orchestra)

    Description

    As musicologists are quick to note, Satie liked this piece so much he dedicated it to himself. It is among his so-call Rose-Croix works; that is, music composed while Satie was under the influence of Joseph-Aime Peladan and his anti-realist, "Rosicrucian" esthetics. While many historians consider this to be the best of Satie's otherwise esoteric and inaccessible Rose-Croix pieces, it nonetheless did not attract much attention nor praise when it first appeared. The Prelude is music to accompany a play by Jules Bois, a Satanist, occultist, and member of the Ahathoor temple. Bois was also a follower of Peladan, and an admirer of his dramatic works. Both Satie and Debussy were drawn into Bois' "sacrilegious world," as Robert Orledge describes it, though ultimately Debussy turned down a project that would have had him supplying music for another of Bois' dramatic works, Les Noces de Sathan. The story of La Porte heroique du ciel involves Christ, a poet, the Virgin Mary, and the cult of Isis. The poet is sent on a mission by Christ, to undermine the Virgin Mary, and to replace her by force with the cult of Isis. This strange mix of Egyptology and Christian myth, decried as sacrilegious by some, is regarded by Eric Gillmor as "an ironic study of religious sentimentality."

    The accessibility of Satie's music for this "esoteric drama" may be attributed to a number of factors. It is motivically integrated, with seventeen discrete yet similar motives used. There is an overall tonal plan, with sequential modal harmonies as well as triads and sevenths chords employed. Satie uses a strongly tonal cadential formula throughout the work, a series of similar cadences appearing on different "tonal levels," in Gillmor's words. Prelude de La Porte heroique du ciel appears to have been the only work Satie composed in 1894.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Zefir Records ZEF 9645
    2016 Brilliant Classics 95350BR
    2015 Erato / Warner Classics 0825646047963
    2014 Bella Musica BM 312453
    2013 United Classics CD 2012140
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94087
    2011 Warner Classics 672411
    2011 Warner Classics 2564672635
    2011 EtCetera Records KTC 1427
    2010 Decca
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968582
    2010 BD Jazz / Zebralution
    2010 Denon Records
    2008 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT080901
    2008 Virgin Classics 562466
    2008 Virgin Classics 22050
    2007 Scandinavian Classics 220504
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93559
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93302
    2007 Cherry Red ACMEM 130CD
    2007 Brilliant 93180
    2006 Lt / LTM LTMCD 2469
    2006 Philips 4657706
    2006 Naxos 8 552137/8
    2005 Arte Nova 277970
    2005 Audiophile Records 15
    2005 Erato / Virgin Classics 7243482002
    2005 Ddd 99384
    2004 MSR Classics 1097
    2003 Decca 000144702
    2003 Classic Collection 99896
    2003 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243585602
    2003 Decca 000023002
    2002 Forlane 16591
    2002 Virgin 545533
    2000 Decca 465819
    2000 RCA 66153
    2000 Mandala 4975/79
    1999 Mandala 4896
    1998 Arte Nova 27797
    1998 Denon Records 17019
    1998 Philips 462161
    1997 Decca 4581052
    1996 Decca 444958
    1996 Philips 454 048-2PH
    1995 Accord 200902
    1994 Mandala 4821
    1994 Naxos 550696
    1993 Denon Records 7485
    1993 Virgin / Virgin Classics 59296
    1992 Vox 5011
    1989 Decca / London 421713
    Classico 109
    HCM 110
    Accord 201022
    MDG 6131064
    Virgin Classics 62363
    Brilliant 93180/24
    Brilliant Classics 93559/5
    Collins Records 10532
    Collins Records 1053