Correctly Pigeonholed for Once

The PTYX ensemble in France will be playing a number of my works over the next year in a series they’re calling “(d’) apres SATIE,” of music by living composers who followed Satie in some respect or another. They’ve certainly got me pegged right. You won’t be able to read the light print at the top of the poster, but it lists the composers on their Dec. 1 concert: Birtwistle, Duckworth, Gann, Sellars, Skempton. I presume that’s James Sellars, whose music I greatly admire, as I do the others. They’re playing my Kierkegaard, Walking and Minute Symphony on this concert, and they seem to have already played my “opus 1,” which is just titled Satie, a setting of some of his wry comments. And they’re performing in Tours at the Salle Ockeghem, named for another of my favorite composers. Jean-Baptiste of the ensemble says that my music is very different from what they’re used to playing, which I suppose is all to the good.



  1. lawrencedillon says

    The Sellars guess is probably a good one. He has a lovely work for viola and piano called “Satie Sat At Tea.”

  2. says

    Birtwistle made an orchestration of Mercure.
    According to the book by Johathan Cross the influences are Satie’s ‘static abstraction’; examining the same objects from different perspectives; and a timeless quality as if going round in circles and spirals.
    The most obvious examples are Silbury Air and Endless Parade according to Cross.

  3. says

    Ian Stewart’s comment is very helpful by putting into words something about Satie’s music that has been so influential down through the years. If you’ve ever written something on the nature of Satie’s music and how you draw inspiration from it, would appreciate a pointer.

  4. says

    Thank you for your comment Lyle, however my comment was based on the analysis by Jonathan Cross in his book on Birtwistle.

    Regarding drawing influences from Satie, I did do a piece when I was a student imitating the style of the Gymnopédies but in 4/4 time. My professor said that it was so obviously a reference to Satie, I should write it in 3/4 time as the elongation of the bar length made it sound unnatural. Usually I can do imitations of composers but I do this almost instinctively, rather like some people can imitate accents.

    If I remember correctly, I think his characteristics are often non-functional harmony and simple melodies that allude to exotic scales. Parade is one of my favourite works of his and I think in that work there are block sections without any transitions, but again I have not heard it for sometime now.

  5. says

    Not even one mention anywhere in this blog of your article about Ashley in Context ? Such a pity I had to discover it by myself.

    KG replies: Good heavens, that’s my foreword to the new edition of Perfect Lives. I had no idea it appeared anywhere else.