In my judgement, Peter Lawson remains one of the finest interpreters of the work of Erik Satie (1866-1925). If you know and like his style, then this new CD is an upgrade on previous versions and a must-have. I first heard Lawson playing "Erik Satie Piano Music" (recorded at the Wigmore Hall, London, in October 1979) on an EMI Classics For Pleasure label tape cassette. This was originally released back in 1980. It wasn't until April 1989 that the EMI recording was remastered onto CD by Abbey Rd Studios (and happily, they retained the original cover design for easier music identification). I think this version was not produced in large nos. and it took me a long time to track down; my own copy ended up having to be imported from Holland! It is therefore great news that EMI seem to have recognised, at long last, that some of Erik Satie's work is still appreciated and airs quite regularly on TV - usually as incidental background music in documentaries. Two of the best pieces are the incomparable "Gymnopedies No.1" (from 1888) and the beautiful but little known "Gnossienne No.4" (manuscript composition date of 1891, but not actually published until 1968 by Robert Caby.)
The new "Satie: Piano Music (N.G.Coll.)" is a fresh remastering that appeared in 2011. The CD cover painting of "Bathers at Asnieres" (by Georges Seurat in 1884) certainly evokes the collaboration with the National Gallery, but it requires closer scrutiny to clearly identify which musical collection is represented. The new inner booklet is well written, although lacking a named individual as its authority. However, there are some notable improvements over the 1989 disc. The sound is good, but the Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes pieces will benefit from an increase in speaker volume. A fuller and more detailed track listing at the back of the booklet is offered, so quickly finding a specific passage of music in a longer work is now possible. The back of the new CD case also has an improved track summary than the older 1989 casing. Lawson's original playing order is still sensibly preserved. In the latter half of the disc, renown pianist Angela Brownridge provides her own unique interpretation of Satie and it's interesting to contrast the two styles. If you want to explore more of the composer's work even further, consult his Wikipedia entries. I would also recommend listening to some of Aldo Ciccolini's performances, not simply because he is another acclaimed interpreter of Satie's repertoire, but because he covers such a wide range of this Frenchman's music. It is a matter of deep regret though, that for personal and health reasons, Peter Lawson has not performed any more of Satie's work.