Walking through the streets of Paris a hundred years ago, Erik Satie could not have looked more normal in his black bowler hat and tie. But Mr. Satie was dreaming of music no one had heard before – music like ancient chants and modern circus tunes rolled into one. A friend of poets, puppeteers, magicians, great painters like Picasso, and the Surrealists, Satie was at the center of a world where sense was nonsense, and the imagination ruled supreme.
rik Satie's first great piano period dates back to his youth and his first time spent in Montmartre. During these years he wrote some 20 piano pieces, five songs, some sketches for string quartet, theatre music for Joséphin Péladan and a little orchestral piece, later re-used as the penultimate movement in Trois morceaux en forme de poire for piano duet.
Among the first works by young Satie to be published were two salon-waltzes printed as supplements in his father's publication La musiques des familles on March 17th and July 28th of 1887. The first appended with the curious numbering "Opus 62" (!), and the second with the following introduction:
"Today we publish a charming Fantaisie-valse for piano by Erik Satie. This work by a very young musician is elegant in structure and gracious in rhythm, without dryness. All the author's works, amongst which we will mention Three Melodies, indicate a propensity for reverie and a tendency to move away from the strict laws of symmetrical rhythm."
The rather trivial, frequently-repeated phrases and the bassnotes around the basic chords are typical of the style of the simple salon music of the day.
At the same time, it can be noted that Satie - conciously or not - managed to avoid the sentimentality to the style. Instead, both waltzes have traits of timeless simplicity. Perhaps, even, something of the starkness one usually associates with the Gymnopédies.
This piece is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).