Noriko Ogawa plays Erik Satie – Piano Music, Vol. 1

Noriko Ogawa plays Erik Satie – Piano Music, Vol. 1

Featured on BBC Radio 3, Record Review, Andrew McGregor  said. “Wishy-washy Satie this is not.”


Erik Satie (1866-1925): Gnossiennes Nos 1–7; Le Piccadilly (Marche); Chapitres tournés en tous sens; Avant-dernières penseés; Croquis et agaceries d’un gros bonhomme en bois; Sonatine bureaucratique; Poudre d’or (Valse); Embryons desséchés; Descriptions automatiques; Heures séculaires et instantanées; Prélude en tapisserie; Les trois valses distinguées du précieux dégoûté; Je te veux (Valse); Trois Gymnopédies

Noriko Ogawa, piano (Érard 1890)

BIS2215 (Hybrid SACD) @ £14.25*

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“We may not have recordings of Satie playing his own piano music, but we do have the next best things: a disc of his pieces recorded in 1956 by Poulenc … eloquent testimony to Satie’s insistence on rhythmical performance, with no sloppy hesitations before ‘important notes.

I am delighted to report that Noriko Ogawa follows this true tradition. In doing so, she convincingly destroys the belief that Satie’s music actually needs pulling about for its sly humour and sudden moments of tenderness to make their mark.

In this utterly delightful disc she manages to convey not only Satie’s quirkiness, but his honesty.

The choice of a clean, crisp 1890 Erard is excellent for this music, and it’s very good news that this disc is Volume 1 in a collection of all Satie’s solo piano music.” BBC Music Magazine

“It’s a well structured recital. It’s not just the period instrument that makes the difference …. characterful late nineteenth century Erard piano whose distinctive timbres and relative transparency of tone compared to modern concert Grands subtly tempers our understanding of Satie’s harmonies.

Andrew McGregor went continued to say about Ogawa’s playing,”…the same qualities of clarity, articulation and musicality that make her solo Debussy such a pleasure. Wishy-washy Satie this is not.” BBC Radio 3, Record Review 30 July 2016. Andrew McGregor 

“You’d expect Noriko Ogawa to excel in this repertoire. And this disc’s pleasures are enhanced by her playing on an Erard Grand built in 1890, its transparent, light timbre stripping away the thick muddy varnish with which some pianists coat Satie’s music.

The joy of a compilations like this is losing oneself in the lesser-known miniatures, and you’re continually reminded that Satie was a wiser, more knowledgeable character than he’s often given credit for.

This is labelled as Volume 1, so let’s hope that Ogawa gives us a follow up soon. Satie’s own self-portrait adorns the sleeve.” The Arts

“He (Satie) wrote some charming, and occasionally eccentric piano pieces. A substantial selection of 38 of them appear on this well recorded BIS issue, which lasts a generous 78 minutes. What makes it especially interesting is that Noriko Ogawa plays on an 1890 Erard grand, of exactly the sort that Satie himself might have played. As such, this is a charming issue, as well as an extremely useful one for anyone who wants to discover the many joys of Satie’s piano music.” David Mellor, Classic FM


Noriko Ogawa launches a complete set of Satie’s music for solo piano – a body of works which includes the sets of Gnossiennes and Gymnopédies, which through their use in countless movie sound tracks have reached and affected audiences across the planet, pieces that Satie wrote for his own use when working as a bar pianist (Je te veux, Le Piccadilly), parodies on other composers (Sonatine bureaucratique is a spoof on a sonata by Clementi) as well as experiments such as Vexations, a brief theme with chordal accompaniment which according to an instruction in the score is to be played 840 times

Noriko Ogawa, whose wide-ranging and acclaimed discography includes music by Mozart and Rachmaninov as well as complete recordings of the piano music by her compatriot Toru Takemitsu and by Debussy (a friend and rival of Satie’s) performs all of this on an instrument from Satie’s own time – an exquisite Erard grand piano built in 1890, the very year that Satie composed his Gnossienne No. 1 which opens this disc and new cycle.

150 years after his birth, Erik Satie is still one of the great enigmas of classical music – a composer who said of himself ‘I am not fond of jokes… I never make jokes’ but is nevertheless regarded as one of the great tricksters of Western music; who at one stage was involved with esoteric societies such as the Rosicrucian Order and founded a church of his own (the ‘Metropolitan Art Church of Jesus the Conductor’), and inventing the genre ‘furniture music’ that, for Satie, was ‘fundamentally industrial’, similar to ‘light, heat and all the forms of comfort’.

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