Erik Satie (May 17, 1866 - 1925) was a French composer who ranks among the oddest figures in late 19th C./early 20th C. music. He preferred to be called ‘gymnopedist’ or ‘phonometrograph’ rather than ‘composer’, and his pieces - often whimsically titled bagatelles for piano - have a hypnotic and addictive effect on the listener. They sound simple but are actually hard to perform properly (not as pretty little ditties, but as complex and minute variations on a minimalist theme - Vexations for instance calls for 840 repetitions). Sequences such Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes foreshadow later ambient music, as do the later pieces that Satie himself dubbed ‘furniture music’… 
Satie was friends with the Dadaists and Surrealists and collaborated on their film and publishing ventures, often writing pieces that were easily as odd as his compositions. Satie clearly felt out of step with the mainstream of his age: “I came into the world very young, in an age that was very old…”
Above: Satie pioneers the use of mirrorshades…
Below: A performance of the 3 Gymnopédies

Erik Satie (May 17, 1866 - 1925) was a French composer who ranks among the oddest figures in late 19th C./early 20th C. music. He preferred to be called ‘gymnopedist’ or ‘phonometrograph’ rather than ‘composer’, and his pieces - often whimsically titled bagatelles for piano - have a hypnotic and addictive effect on the listener. They sound simple but are actually hard to perform properly (not as pretty little ditties, but as complex and minute variations on a minimalist theme - Vexations for instance calls for 840 repetitions). Sequences such Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes foreshadow later ambient music, as do the later pieces that Satie himself dubbed ‘furniture music’… 

Satie was friends with the Dadaists and Surrealists and collaborated on their film and publishing ventures, often writing pieces that were easily as odd as his compositions. Satie clearly felt out of step with the mainstream of his age: “I came into the world very young, in an age that was very old…”

Above: Satie pioneers the use of mirrorshades…

Below: A performance of the 3 Gymnopédies

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    Erik Satie (May 17, 1866 - 1925) was a French composer who ranks among the oddest figures in late 19th C./early 20th C....
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