Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785):
1. Adagio from the Sonata in D majorErik Satie (1866-1925):
2. Sonata in C minor
3. Sonata in A minor: Largo
5. Sonata in A minor: Siciliana
7. Sonata in A major: Andantino
9. Sonata in C minor: Larghetto, Allegro
10. Andante from the Sonata No. 5 in C major
11. Petite Ouverture à danserCover photo: Barry with the statue of Galuppi on the island of Burano, his birthplace, 1994.
12. Gnossienne No. 5
13. Gnossienne No. 6
14. Prélude de la Porte Héroique
15. Pièces Froides: Airs à faire fuire (“Airs that chase away”) I
16. Pièces Froides II
17. Pièces Froides III
Listen to complete Galuppi and Satie streams here.
It is one of the ironies of music history that the Baroque Venetian composer, Baldassare Galuppi, was regarded as one of the most famous composers in Europe during the 18th century, renowned for his operas and keyboard works, but quickly fell into obscurity with the rise of Romanticism, whereas Erik Satie, a hundred years later was mainly known only in Paris during his lifetime, but today is famous worldwide. Both were incredibly innovative keyboard composers living at the cusp of changing musical styles.
One of Galuppi’s keyboard sonatas, including the exquisite Andante in C major, was revived by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli on an LP in 1965 that I happened to win as a teenager in a CBC radio competition, and it has stayed with me ever since. Since then only a few pianists have recorded any of Galuppi’s more than 100 sonatas on the piano (an instrument one of them reports as being indicated on a Galuppi manuscript as “per il Pianoforte”). Galuppi must have been impressed by the sustaining power of the then new instrument, compared with the harpsichord, but paradoxically most contemporary performers play the allegro movements extremely fast, and record them in an empty concert hall. In my opinion, they work much better at a slower tempo (here recorded in our living room) that brings out individual voices, combined with the traditional Baroque keyboard ornamentation, especially on the repeats. Unlike most other pianists, I also emphasize the remarkable emotional outbursts in the scores – fuoco passages going straight to dolce – that look forward to Beethoven. There is even an amazingly dissonant “bell ringing” passage in the A major sonata (at 4:22 and 6:24) as if his writing was interrupted by the local churchbell. Whatever the interpretation, Galuppi never fails to delight with his endlessly innovative musical ideas.
As you will remember from my previous CDs, Erik Satie has always been a favourite keyboard composer of mine. And back in the 1970s, I was inspired by Reinbert de Leeuw’s amazingly slow recordings of his early, and most popular, piano works issued on Philips, and still available on CD and YouTube. These too bring out the inner voices and unexpected harmonic changes that were Satie’s innovation. Ironically, de Leeuw performs the very strangely evocative Pièces Froides very fast, but I maintain my traditionally slower tempi as before.
So, in conclusion I hope you will enjoy the ‘encounter’ between these two amazing composers as I have interpreted them.
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