In January of 2013, Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie no. 1 magically appeared into my head. I began figuring it out on the piano by ear. It was so pretty and nostalgic, like no other piano music I had ever heard. I am not sure where I first heard it or when. I loved his simple and elegant style of composing, so I began exploring more of his compositions. I became addicted to the Danses de Travers in March 2013 and got the sheet music for it in April, around the same time that I got my Moog synthesizer. Then, the Gnossiennes came into my life. They are the first set of compositions I made with the Moog synthesizer in the beginning of summer 2013.
I really enjoyed the scope of color the Gnossiennes brought out to me musically. The speed he intended for these songs to be played at allows room for introspective listening. Improvisation of slight chord changes and arpeggiations can be utilized to build upon Satie’s ideas. The notes that he wrote to assist a player’s interpretation of the musical phrases are very inspiring to me.
When I played these songs on the synthesizer, with a slightly different time signature, a few added notes and dramatic effects, such as the portamento in my version of Gnossienne no. 3, the speed varies slightly from Satie’s original intention. This collection is a tribute to Erik Satie’s beautiful and mysterious arrangements that will always strike the heart chords of music lovers and composers alike.
The Gnossiennes are a series of compositions written in France during the late 19th century. I have felt a strong resonance with this time period of history throughout my creative development and have embodied something different through adding notes with the synthesizer. These songs capture an essence of the time in which they were written. The chords cover a series of emotions in each piece. Gnossiennes no. 2 and 4 for example portray the feeling of a haunted sadness, while Gnossienne no. 5 embodies a romantic feeling of melancholic ecstasy.
Gnossienne no. 1 combines the feelings of sadness and anger, these emotions presented through Satie’s use of dynamics. Gnossienne no. 3 gives the feeling of mystery. In each of these compositions, the presence of the others is relevant due to the similar style. Satie achieved the combination and transposition of major and minor chord progressions with eloquence. His compositions can trigger a mind state that can endlessly loop into itself and give the player and listener an experience of musical infinity.
To provide introspection and musical dialogue is what guides me to make decisions regarding the compositional process. I also use structural and formulaic approaches that I combine with more improvisational techniques.
released 09 August 2015
Tracks 1-6 originally composed by Erik Satie. Viola by Vivian Torres on tracks 3, 5, 6 and 7. All tracks re-arranged and mastered by Eden Grey.