Erik Satie


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A brief psychological study on the life of Erik Satie.

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  • Erik Satie

    1. 1. Erik Satie (1866-1925) “ I came into the world very young, in an age that was very old”
    2. 2. Satie in a nutshell <ul><li>Turn of the century French composer </li></ul><ul><li>Worked with Pablo Picasso </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipated many later avant-garde trends </li></ul><ul><li>Has been claimed by many 20 th century movements </li></ul>
    3. 3. Family background <ul><li>A family of sailors </li></ul><ul><li>Shipbrokers in Normandy </li></ul><ul><li>Mother of Scottish lineage </li></ul><ul><li>Father and Uncle both shipbrokers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Father described as studious and steady. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uncle as wild and undisciplined. An eccentric. </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Early stages of Development <ul><li>Born in Honfleur in 1866 </li></ul><ul><li>Had a younger brother and 2 younger sisters. </li></ul><ul><li>Little is known of his mother’s personality </li></ul><ul><li>Erik’s mother died when he was 6. </li></ul><ul><li>He and his brother, Conrad, were then sent to live with their grandparents. </li></ul><ul><li>Had been baptized as Anglican, but were rebaptized Catholic. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Industry vs. Inferiority <ul><li>Entered in school </li></ul><ul><li>Became very close with his eccentric Uncle </li></ul><ul><li>Began studying music at age 10 under an organist named Vinot. </li></ul><ul><li>Became familiar with Gregorian plainsong through Vinot. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greatly influenced his later compositional style </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Identity vs Role Confusion <ul><li>Rejoined his father in Paris at age 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Father remarried a young piano teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Entered the Paris Consevatoire in 1879 </li></ul><ul><li>Reentered the Conservatoire in 1884 </li></ul>
    7. 7. Intimacy vs Isolation <ul><li>First musical publications in 1886 </li></ul><ul><li>In the same year leaves for voluntary military service </li></ul><ul><li>Escapes the service by purposefully contracting bronchitis. Hospitalized for 2 months. </li></ul><ul><li>Publishes his most famous work, the Gymnopedies , in 1887 </li></ul>
    8. 8. Intimacy vs Isolation <ul><li>Worked as a café pianist in Montmarte </li></ul><ul><li>1891-1895: the official composer for the essoteric Rosicrucian sect. </li></ul><ul><li>Satie met Claude Debussy in 1891 </li></ul><ul><li>Debussy introduced him to Maurice Ravel. </li></ul><ul><li>Debussy and Ravel begin to attain broad success as Impressionistic composers. </li></ul><ul><li>Satie remains extremely poor, though his friends work to promote him to the public. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Intimacy vs Isolation
    10. 10. Relationships <ul><li>Conrad Satie (brother) </li></ul><ul><li>Claude Debussy & Maurice Ravel (peers) </li></ul><ul><li>Suzanne Valadon (romantic) </li></ul><ul><li>Les Six (students/admirers) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Georges Auric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Louis Durey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arthur Honegger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Darius Milhaud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frances Poulenc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Germaine Talleferre </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) <ul><li>Trapeze artist </li></ul><ul><li>Model for Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Renoir </li></ul><ul><li>Painter </li></ul><ul><li>Intense 6 month relationship with Satie </li></ul>
    12. 12. Suzanne Valadon Renoir Girl Braiding Her Hair Degas Dance at Bougival Toulouse-Lautrec Hangover
    13. 13. Suzanne Valadon
    14. 14. <ul><li>Forced to move to an industrial suburb in 1898 for economic reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1900 produces several first rate café songs and music hall pieces. </li></ul>
    15. 16. Les Six
    16. 17. Satie’s 1 bedroom apartment <ul><li>7 of 12 identical grey velvet suits on an empty dresser </li></ul><ul><li>Two pianos stacked on top of each other </li></ul><ul><li>100 umbrellas </li></ul><ul><li>84 identical handkerchiefs </li></ul><ul><li>Newspaper clippings </li></ul><ul><li>Unopened mail and unsent letters </li></ul><ul><li>Innumerable musical & literary jottings </li></ul>
    17. 18. Karen Horney Real and Ideal Self
    18. 19. Karen Horney: Neurotic Needs or Trends <ul><li>Primary modes of relating: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.) Moving toward (compliance) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Orientation: self-effacing solution </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An appeal to be loved </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2.) Moving against (hostility) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Orientation: self-expansive solution </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An attempt at mastery </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3.) Moving away (detachment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Orientation: resignation solution </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Desire to be free of others </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 20. Satie’s resignation solution <ul><li>Left the Catholic church to join the esoteric Rosicrucian sect. Later started his own religion, of which he was only member. </li></ul><ul><li>Pushed away most of his friends, family, and professional relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Joined the Socialist party. Later became a communist. </li></ul><ul><li>Left the city for a working class suburb in Paris. </li></ul><ul><li>Moved away from the current trends in music and art. </li></ul>
    20. 21. Musical style moving away from the norm <ul><li>Moving away from functional harmony and traditional music theory. </li></ul><ul><li>Moving away from standard music notation (does not use bar lines, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Titles and directions to the performer deviate wildly from the norm. </li></ul><ul><li>Style is moving away from current trends in Impressionism and Romanticism. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cool rather than emotional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lean rather than lush </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Furniture music” moves away from spotlight into the background. </li></ul>
    21. 22. Moving away from traditional harmony
    22. 23. 1893
    23. 25. Vexations <ul><li>840 repetitions of a 1 minute motif </li></ul><ul><ul><li>18 hours 40 minutes to perform </li></ul></ul><ul><li>First performance organized by John Cage in 1963 – 10 performers rotated 2 hour shifts </li></ul><ul><li>One of the first compositions of truly organized chromaticism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of Lucas number series (similar to Fibonacci sequence) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2, 1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 18… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Both performers and audiences have reported trance states and disturbing effects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An Australian pianist abandoned an attempt in 1970 at repetition 595. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complained of hallucinations and animals peering at him from behind the score. </li></ul></ul>
    24. 26. Erikson: Identity <ul><li>Individuality: conscious sense of uniqueness and existence as a separate, unique entity. </li></ul><ul><li>Wholeness/synthesis: sense of personal cohesiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Sameness/continuity </li></ul><ul><li>Social solidarity: feelings of support & validation </li></ul>
    25. 27. Erikson: Identity Confusion <ul><li>Difficulty going to bed </li></ul><ul><li>Trouble waking up and facing the next day </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of concentration and difficulty focusing </li></ul><ul><li>Moody absorption, fantasizing, daydreaming </li></ul><ul><li>Pronounced feeling of being an outcast or wanderer </li></ul>