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Published on May 22, 2010
Satie's Gymnopédies are what many consider to be the groundwork for today's ambient music; it's as ignorable as it is interesting (although, I find it hard to ignore such great music). This beautiful piece for solo piano is calming, reflective, ethereal, relaxing, soothing, and elegant.
We're complimenting this music with photos of animals.
With a hollow, but eerily warm melody gently floating atop an accompaniment of steady short-long rhythms, Gymnopédie No. 1 is as expressive as it is transparent. Its simplicity and openness masterfully disguises its apparent dissonances.
Éric Alfred Leslie Satie (1866 1925) was a French composer and pianist. Starting with his first composition in 1884, he signed his name as Erik Satie.
Satie was introduced as a "gymnopedist" in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopédies. Later, he also referred to himself as a "phonometrician" (meaning "someone who measures sounds") preferring this designation to that of "musician", after having been called "a clumsy but subtle technician" in a book on contemporary French composers published in 1911.
In addition to his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications, from the dadaist 391 to the American top culture chronicle Vanity Fair. Although in later life he prided himself on always publishing his work under his own name, in the late nineteenth century he appears to have used pseudonyms such as Virginie Lebeau and François de Paule in some of his published writings.