As music from the past is increasingly performed on original instruments in authentic period style, it was perhaps inevitable that Erik Satie's keyboard works would be treated this way, especially to celebrate his 150th anniversary. Using an 1890 Érard piano, Noriko Ogawa has recorded Satie's most famous pieces for the first volume of a series of the complete solo piano music on BIS, including the Trois Gymnopédies, the Gnossiennes, Avant-dernières pensées, the Sonatine bureaucratique, Embryons desséchés, and others from Satie's iconoclastic oeuvre. Casual listeners may miss the significance of the Érard piano, which was built in the year Satie composed his first Gnossienne, and which is somewhat closer to a modern piano's robust sound than, say, a fortepiano from the early 19th century, or even a piano from the middle of the century. BIS' pristine super audio recording captures the instrument's distinctive metallic tone, which gives it a slightly antique quality, though it has enough projection and dynamic range to satisfy most piano fans. Ogawa is a sensitive player with a subtle touch, and she appropriately characterizes Satie's enigmatic pieces with a mix of biting humor and poignant melancholy.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
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