on 6 February 2001
The highlight of this selection of Satie's orchestral works - part of a series of albums featuring performances commendably played by complete unknowns - has to be "Parade". This "Ballet Realiste" is a very much neglected part of the history of art in the early twentieth century: commissioned by Diaghilev; conceived by Cocteau; designed by Picasso; choreographed by Massin. Satie's music brings to life the spirit of that age - bold, lively, daring, and yet (to 21st century ears at least) very accessible. The inclusion of a typewriter and a siren into the ranks of the percussion sums up Satie's sense of fun. "Parade" deserves to be much more widely heard. Satie's most famous work "Three Gymnopedies" also appears on this disc arranged for orchestra. Lovely as they are, heard next to the other works here you can't help feeling that they're rather schmaltzy by comparison. "Mercure" was another colloboration with Picasso, and "Relache" saw Satie working with the film director Rene Clair. This latter work shows Satie as a man very much of his time as well as ahead of his time. Described as the only musical contribution to Dadaism it uses everyday, even mundane, elements to say something new and provocative. It also clearly set the seed of minimalism which didn't flower until decades later. If you've only heard his piano music then you can't go wrong with this. If you're a fan of Satie, your collection is not complete without it.
on 12 September 2015
I nearly cut the star rating down to four, but not for the performance or recording, so I leave it at five. These are beautifully characterized performances - what Frank Zappa might have called well shaped. It is particularly good to have Cinéma in context, rather than as an item on its own. My one moan is with the listing and notes. O.k., there is mention of the fact that Debussy and Roland-Manuel orchestrated the "Trois Gymnopédies", but there is no attribution indicating who did what. For the record[sic] Debussy orchestrated 1 and 3 (though he put them in the order 3 and 1) and Roland-Manuel did the job on number 2.