the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

quotes: on the 3 gnossienes

Posted by rigorousm on January 18, 2011

The three Gnossienes of the regular canon do have the distinction of having inaugurated the witty verbal commentary that has become one of the most discussed features of the composer’s style. … In the Trois Gnossienes the instructions to the performers vary in intelligibility. Some, such as “postulez en vous-meme” (“wonder about yourself”), “sur la langue” (“on the tip of the tongue”), “sans argueil” (“don’t be proud”), and “ouvrez la tet” (“think right”), are clearly nonsensical; others, such as “tres luisent” (“shing”), and “avec etonnement” (“with amazement”), are rather expressive and vaguely meaningful, while still others– “plus intimement” (“more intimately”), “avec une leger intimite” (“lightly, with intimacy”), and “enfouissez le sen” (“muffle the sound”), though eminently French, are virtually within the bounds of the standard nineteenth-century vocabulary of expression marking.

— Alan M Gillmore – Erik Satie, p. 47


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