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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satie: Piano Music (The National Gallery Collection), 29 Sep 2012
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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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than "Trois Gymnopédies", 14 Jun 2012
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Alun Williams "mathematician manqué" (Peterborough,England) - See all my reviews
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I owned the music forming the first two thirds or so of this CD on a MFP cassette I bought in about 1981, and bought this CD in order to replace it when it was no longer playable. It was a delight to hear Peter Lawson's wonderful playing once again, this time without any of the hiss of the ancient cassette. As well as the contents of the original cassette there are a number of other Satie pieces played by Angela Brownridge. I was impressed with how seamless the transition between the two sets of performances is, and these latter pieces already seem almost as familiar to me as those played by Peter Lawson. Almost every piece is a gem, or as the CD insert has it, " a miniature polished to perfection, leaving not a single note too many".
Many of the pieces have humorous titles, and some have humorous quotations, or misquotations from other well known pieces of music. All the pieces have a certain minimalist quality. Yet, in spite of the humour, and although the pieces are very emotionally cool in a typically French way, some of them are really affecting.
If the only music you know by Satie is the Trois Gymonpédies, and especially if you have only heard them in the Debussy orchestration, I heartily recommmend buying this CD. I think Satie is one of the finest piano composers ever.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great performances- recording quality and style betrays its vintage, 30 July 2013
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ST Nicholls "viggenboy" (Saxmundham, Suffolk UK) - See all my reviews
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If you are looking for a budget recording -with AutoRip thrown in- to use as "musical wallpaper" for dinner parties etc. jump right in and buy this without hesitation. Indeed the slightly "atmospheric" recording style even adds to this sort of listening.

If you are looking for an introduction to Satie's "greatest hits" and are only going to listen on your MP3 player or phone, again, this is a great recording to go for- no question.

If you are a bit of a nerdy perfectionist audiophile with a valve amp 8ft high B&W speakers (for example).... there may be newer better, more perfect versions of these out there you'd enjoy more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Its all good, 9 July 2014
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A. Robson "Andy" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Its all good
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 21 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Satie Piano Music [The National Gallery Collection] (The National Gallery Collection) (MP3 Download)
beautiful
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