Erik Satie, a French composer, studied music at the Paris Conservatory Schola Cantorum. He was the pupil of Vincent D'Indy and Albert Roussel.
Against the romantic Wagnerian style which was incapable of expressing a French sensibility, Satie developed a controlled, abstract and seemingly simple style. His music, in general, features a removed, unaffected beauty. Although his early works anticipate the harmonic innovations of some impressionists, such as Debussy and Ravel, his later compositions foretell the neoclassicism of the early 20th century.
During the 1900's, Erik Satie produced several first rate cafe songs and music hall pieces, which include "Je te veux" - a graceful French waltz and "Le Piccadilly" - with a strong Scott Joplin ragtime flavour.
It is hard for us now to imagine how astonished the Paris audience must have been with Satie's music which was so different from the lush compositions of his peers, Franck and Saint-Saens. Satie's audience must have been especially astonished when the music they heard was accompanied by the composer's bizarre titles and performance instructions. Yet Satie's compositions are still unlike anything else in the piano literature and still full of touching and evocative delight and charm.
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