Cover image for Satie seen through his letters
Satie seen through his letters
Satie, Erik, 1866-1925.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Correspondence. English
Publication Information:
London ; New York : M. Boyars, [1989]

Physical Description:
239 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.S196 A4 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order


Author Notes

At the age of 13, Erik Satie went to Paris, where he attended the Paris Conservatory. He soon, however, relinquished his formal and systematic study of music. Early in his career, he played in cabarets in Montmartre. In 1892 he began to produce short piano pieces with eccentric titles, intended to ridicule proponents of both modern and classical music. He was 40 years old when he decided to learn about the techniques of composition. Although he was dismissed as a serious musician by his contemporaries, Satie greatly influenced French musicians of a younger generation. He became well known as an innovator in the modern idiom after his death. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

This whimsical book about the eccentric Parisian composer Erik Alfred Leslie Satie (1866-1925) confirms his position as one of the most bizarre personalities in music history. Gathered by a determined iconographer, the director of the Satie Foundation in Paris, and arranged somewhat chronologically by topic, such as ``Friends,'' and ``Lawsuits,'' these letters to Cocteau, Debussy, Milhaud, Picasso, Ravel and Stravinsky, among others, many of which have not been previously published, give us a picture of Satie the friend, student, neighbor, composer and musical influence, and of the only adherent to a religion that he founded. Illustrated with line drawings by Cocteau, Magritte and Picasso, as well as Satie's own musical scores and logos, this book will entrance and delight those interested in Parisian cultural life in the early 20th century. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Interest in Satie, one of music's eccentrics, may revive, for today's minimal music owes much to his aesthetic of restraint and purity. The eccentricity, the strange and humorous behavior, are illuminated in this correspondence, which includes letters from and to Satie and letters between other luminaries of Satie's milieu. Mixed with biographical context, the letters are arranged thematically, and in loose chronological order, in chapters such as Birth, Friends, Sects, Lawsuits, and ones on major works. Included are a chronology and an accounting of the whereabouts of the actual artifacts. Though valuable for the character portrait it provides, this collection has too many omissions to satisfy the need for a thoroughly documented complete English edition. Recommended for music collections.-- Steven J. Squires, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Those intrigued by the music, the aesthetic creed, and the literary dexterity of Erik Satie (1866-1925) will relish this translation of letters and postcards to artistic collaborators, friends, his brother, periodicals, and academies. Some were mailed to himself as reminders of forthcoming events; insulting postcards to a critic led to a suit for slander. To introduce correspondence and identify recipients, this book is divided into 21 segments ranging from "Birth" to "Departure" (via such headings as "Sects," "Furniture Music," and "Pseudo-Dadas"). Readers may wish initially to read the book in its entirety and then return directly to the letters to trace more readily their stylistic evolution. The book is generously illustrated with photographs and drawings, some by Satie himself. Also included is a chronology of Satie's life and documentation regarding the illustrations and the origin of letters from, to, and about Satie. The touching introduction by John Cage--and indeed the book itself--is (as Satie said in addressing a distinguished pianist of his era) "homage rendered to an artist who has done so much for modern music." -J. Behrens, University of Western Ontario