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Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music
Erik Satie, Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Classical


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Good for completists, but...
Matthew D. White | New Orleans, LA | 05/18/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I jumped at the chance to buy this set; a new digital recording of Satie's complete solo piano music. I had admired Jean-Yves Thibaudet in the past and had seen him perform Messiaen's "Turangalila Symphony"; a great performance. However, after listening to this set for three straight months, I'm rather frustrated with it, mostly on aesthetic grounds, since I can't deny Thibaudet's talents; I just disagree with some of his interpretations.To start, most of the shorter, "lite" pieces are performed very well on disc 4. Even the most popular, (Gymnopedies, Gnossiennes) are excellent. I am also thankful I now have performances of "Uspud" and many of Satie's conservatory assignments, played expertly and with good humor. For these, the set is worth having.But now, the bad news. As I have complained about in the past with Thibaudet's Ravel discs, I'm frankly rather put-off by his inexplicable, pointless staccato in many of the pieces. "Petite Overture a la Danser" is one of my favorite Satie miniatures, and here Thibaudet botches it by playing it way too fast with no pedal. It sounds like a joke, and I think he totally misses the point of the piece. In the "Nazareen" preludes, he adds his own extreme dynamics which are not indicated in the original scores, and the effect seems like a cheap attempt to add "spice" to what are supposed to be meditative sound constructions, based on poetry forms rather than classical forms."Prelude to the Heroic Gate of Heaven" is taken far too slow, and Thibaudet completely cuts out the "Curtain" coda in the original Salabert edition for no apparent reason; he seems determined to give the piece a more "proper" ending, and for this listener, it's a terrible, narcissistic, and disrespectful miscalculation.I will keep this set since it is a complete document, flawed though it may be. But I still must insist that the best living interpreter of Satie's piano music is the ever-underrated Reinbert DeLeeuw, who is completely in-tune with Satie's sly magic. His tempos may be slow, his dynamics few, but that's the whole point; this is highly personal music, and DeLeeuw has an aesthetic I can personally agree with. For an audible explanation of what I'm talking about, compare the performances of "Petite Overture a la Danser" by DeLeeuw and Thibaudet, and you'll see what I mean."
Complete but lacking
Starry Vere | Silver Lake OH USA | 06/14/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"While I am a fan of Thibaudet in general, he just seems lost here. Satie is deceptively difficult to judge as a performer, the music is at times mercurial or static, profound or frivolous, or all of the above. Yet one hardly needs to underline the oddness, it's perfectly revealed if you play it straight.
While some misread notes suggest he may not really know these pieces, Thibaudet manages to project something less than a competent sight reading. In such an endeavor he would certainly get the right feel occasionally by accident. Instead, he regularly puts the wrong foot forward, with odd accents and effects getting in the way, perhaps trying too hard to add spin to music whose mysteries refuse to unfold under such duress.
I would recommend collecting a number of different performers: Reinbert DeLeeuw, Pascal Roge, Anne Queffelec, JoAnna MacGregor and Michel Legrand have all made worthy contributions to the recent discography and their combined recordings would make a pretty-near complete survey."
Yes, its worth five discs
granger | Ithaca, NY USA | 12/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Each disc averages about 75 minutes of music. Over six hours of Satie? Definitely yes. If you have an affinity for Satie's classic pieces you should not pass up this set. There are so many standout pieces in so many wonderful styles you can only leave this set with wonder. And Thibaudet seems made for this music. The best interpreter of Satie that I've heard. His technique is amazing with such a range of subtle fingering tempo and dynamics. Its as though I've heard some of these for the first time with new shocks of emotion I hadn't experienced before. Not to be missed."