Erik Satie: Music, Art and Literature: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Erik Satie: Music, Art and Literature

1st Edition

Edited by Caroline Potter


368 pages

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Erik Satie (1866-1925) was a quirky, innovative and enigmatic composer whose impact has spread far beyond the musical world. As an artist active in several spheres - from cabaret to religion, from calligraphy to poetry and playwriting - and collaborator with some of the leading avant-garde figures of the day, including Cocteau, Picasso, Diaghilev and René Clair, he was one of few genuinely cross-disciplinary composers. His artistic activity, during a tumultuous time in the Parisian art world, situates him in an especially exciting period, and his friendships with Debussy, Stravinsky and others place him at the centre of French musical life. He was a unique figure whose art is immediately recognisable, whatever the medium he employed. Erik Satie: Music, Art and Literature explores many aspects of Satie's creativity to give a full picture of this most multifaceted of composers. The focus is on Satie's philosophy and psychology revealed through his music; Satie's interest in and participation in artistic media other than music, and Satie's collaborations with other artists. This book is therefore essential reading for anyone interested in the French musical and cultural scene of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.


A Yankee Book Peddler US Core Title for 2013

'This book is a much-needed addition to the rather sparse offerings in English concerning the innovative and eccentric composer Erik Satie (1866-1925)…most of Satie’s music is heard infrequently and is very little known to the concert-going public…Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.' Choice

'Piano works by the French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925) are everywhere… This collection of well-documented articles clarifies that appeal. Erik Satie: Music, Art and Literature usefully demonstrates how Satie’s originality and sometimes ornery eccentricity helped fuel his lasting reputation as a musical genius.' International Piano Magazine

'… collection of nine essays and a transcribed conversation that between them explore many aspects of the composer’s creativity and legacy, as well as his place in French cultural life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Taken together, they demonstrate convincingly how far-sighted Satie was during his lifetime. They show how far-reaching his posthumous influence has been on multi-media movements from Dadaism to Fluxus, and why post-Second World War experimental composers such as John Cage (who felt alienated from the ultra-strict serialism that dominated European avant-garde music in the 1950s and 1960s) said of him that it’s not a question of Satie’s relevance. He’s indispensable�.’ Modernism/Modernity

'By emphasizing the centrality of Satie’s interart aesthetic, all of the essays in this volume contribute to a better understanding of Satie’s music, including some of its most inscrutable elements. These essays are, moreover, distinguished by their use of archival materials, including Satie’s correspondence and manuscripts.' Contemporary French Civilization

About the Editor

Caroline Potter is Reader in Music at Kingston University, London. A graduate in both French and music, she obtained a PhD at Liverpool University in 1995 for her thesis on the music of Henri Dutilleux and has published widely on French music since Debussy.

About the Series

Music and Literature

Music and Literature
As musicology increasingly embraces interdisciplinary approaches, this series of specially commissioned volumes offers fresh perspectives on composers whose works drew deeply on other artistic mediums, including painting, architecture, poetry and prose. Each volume comprises a series of commissioned essays which explore the musical, artistic and literary inspiration behind a particular composer’s output. Biographical, analytical, historical and contextual studies are drawn together to throw new light on and suggest new ways of understanding these composers and their work.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Individual Composer & Musician