The lingering despair of Satie's gnossienes and gymnopedies are among the most affected compositions from the last century, and Roge transmits this fragility such that one becomes cautious of other Satie interpreters after experiencing his delicate phrasing. In addition to the artistic quality of Roge's pianism, this disc is a very comprehensive survey of Satie's piano works, although it neglects the gorgeous nocturnes that can be found on a recording by Roge unfortunately titled "after the rain..the soft sounds of Erik Satie".
Rogé produces consistently beautiful tone and this recital gives no mean pleasure an this score. His playing is distinguished by intelligence and sympathy, as well as subtle of colour. He is moreover supported by recording quality of real excellence.
Currently a faculty member of the Washington Conservatory, Haskell Small received his musical training at the San Francisco Conservatory and Carnegie-Mellon University. He has studied piano with Leon Fleisher, William Masselos and Robert Sheldon and composition with Vincent Persichetti. His musical output is difficult to categorize. Nevertheless, it is clear that he is a throwback to the great composer/pianist tradition of the past …….
The disc is EMI's budget CD, but the performances included here are of highest quality. In fact I've never come across any performances that come so close to Chopin's ideal - the fragile beauty, the shimmering tone colours, the noble poetry and the heart-felt intimacy of Barenboim's playing reminds me of what Chopin's contemporaries described of his pianism. I've got dozens of CDs of 24 Preludes, but this is the one I always come back to for its radiant beauty that only comes from a self-effacing, sincere heart.
Japanese label Triton has released a Pascal Rogé album with a rather remarkable program; Crystal Dream features the eminent French pianist in a program that interweaves short piano pieces by Erik Satie with others written by contemporary Japanese composer Takashi Yoshimatsu, mostly pieces drawn from his Pleiades Dances. Both composers employ relatively simple melodic concepts harmonized with elegant, though elemental, kinds of accompaniments, so perhaps the combination makes sense. On the other hand, Satie never lived into the age of rock-based pop music, his engagement with the popular consisting mainly of French music hall tunes, and later in life, a sort of half-understood perception of ragtime rhythm. Yoshimatsu, however, would not be Yoshimatsu if it weren't for his strong connection to pop, though admittedly in Satie's case the pop group Blood, Sweat & Tears' adaptation of his Gymnopédie No. 1 once earned Satie a Grammy-winning single. Either way, one might wonder "how does this combination-slash-conversation work?"
This box collects several recordings of Satie's piano music by Dutch pianist Reinbert de Leeuw, going back as far as 1977, with an English-language DVD (not reviewed, but the idea is attractive) including a fictionalized presentation of Satie's relationship with artist Suzanne Valadon (after they broke up, he hung in his window cataloging her faults, but the film apparently doesn't get to the fun stuff). The provenance of the music on the third CD, consisting mostly of songs and featuring soprano Marjanne Kweksilber, is unclear from the booklet, and it's a poor choice for the non-Francophone – no song texts are provided at all. The piano music from de Leeuw is another matter, however. It is immediately distinctive in its slow tempos and dreamy, rather lugubrious tone.