Charges of dilettantism and eccentricity have long obscured the authentic character of Erik Satie and his works. In this intimate, farsighted biography by Templier, based largely on original sources and first published in France in 1932, Satie emerges as a rare and gifted musician, misunderstood and underestimated because of a complex personality. His “oddness” is revealed as a mask for a stoical independence of spirit coupled with an unusual, childlike innocence that set him apart from more sophisticated, “success-oriented” peers.
Templier's discerning study o this sensitive and perceptive musician was long out of print and until this translation was practically unattainable.
The biography is written in a sincere, straightforward style, somewhat comparable to the “stripped-down,” deeply personal quality of Satie's works. It creates a significant, convincing, full-length portrait of a twentieth-century musician who is known mainly only in profile and caricature.
The text consists essentially of three major subjects: Satie's life, his character, and his works. His background in Honfleur and his life in the charming and interesting atmosphere of the Bohemian circle in France at the turn of the century are presented, followed by an acute analysis of his character and temperament. In the final portion the author presents an appreciative and penetrating analysis of Satie's works.
Templier's discussions of Satie's compositions are presented in chronological progression with detailed examination of the quality of each achievement. The analysis is divided into various periods of productivity and includes major treatments of each of his greatest works, “Parade,” “Mercure,” “Relache,” and “Socrate,” of which the latter is his supreme masterpiece, achieving a consummate correlation between libretto and music.
The book includes a comprehensive discography listing substantially all of Satie's recordings, both foreign and domestic. Photographs of Satie, his family, and friends are also included.