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Sitting with Satie (from "Impressions of Water and Light")

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Published on Apr 8, 2015

"Sitting with Satie: Conversation & Life", the 4th in my series that weds solo piano with Impressionist era artwork, combines reinterpretations of Erik Satie's most famous works with the Pointillism and water color masterpieces of Paul Signac. This 7 minute piece was conceived as a medley in which I play a duet with myself, similar to "Conversations with Myself" (1963) by pianist Bill Evans. Instead of separating the differing performances by panning them left/right, as he did, I separate them spatially via reverb. Satie's "Trois Gymnopédies" (1888) and "Gnossienne" (1890), Debussy's Prelude 6 and my own music (inspired by Satie) are combined. The medley begins with Satie's simple purity, evolves into tumult and trauma, then returns to that initial innocence. Satie is a master of creating space, and I hope the use of extra reverb during the "conversation" helps to fill it with a sense of homage. The transition out of "1 ére Gymnopédie" is done with the help of Debussy's "Footprints in the Snow" (Prelude 6), although many additional notes are added. I play the melancholy "Lent" from "1 Gnossienne" with a near an almost Russian un-Satie urgency and completely new chords that become more Jazz oriented as they are repeated. It eventually gives way to my own transitional section inspired by Satie's "3 ére Gymnopédie." The recapitulation of "1 ére Gymnopédie" includes a new melodic duet, which I imagine accompanying the lone man sitting on the bench in Paul Signac's "Place des Lices" that is the video's initial image. Surely, those trees are swaying with music all their own...

Paul Victor Jules Signac (1863 – 1935) was a French Neo-Impressionist painter who, working with Georges Seurat, helped develop the Pointillist style.

For more information, please see www.tobinmueller.com

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