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Music from the Gone World

It is said that Eric Satie composed this slow study for piano during the late nights in Paris when he would walk home from the great central market (now gone) of Les Halles. It is said that Satie would walk slowly between the gas street lights and then stop beneath one or the other and write a bar or so. And then he’d walk along the Seine to another light to write another bar. Is it true? It should be.

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  • Mitchell Strand November 8, 2020, 1:44 PM

    This is one of the better expressions of melancholy in classical music. Many would say the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, but to me that piece is more an expression of despair, bordering on anguish. (Not that I don’t love it for that.) There’s also Debussy’s Claire de Lune, which is melancholy, but not wholly so. Its greatness comes from the small passages of hope in it.

    This tune, though. It’s one of pain, but not too sharp. Of longing, but without really an object of longing. Mostly it’s about loneliness, but a loneliness that is capable of being borne. Not overpowering, but manageable. It’s an ache, one that’s reassuring because it lets you know you can still feel something.

    Gerard, my sympathies. I hope you are able to manage.

  • Vanderleun November 8, 2020, 2:01 PM

    I’ve had better days. Weeks. Months. Years. Decades.

  • Anne November 8, 2020, 3:29 PM

    You know—you know that He will never put upon you more than you can bear. From these times I am certain will come different facets to this life . . . and that will make you wiser and stronger. One foot in front of the other dear sir. One foot in front of the other sometimes is all we have.

  • Jewel November 8, 2020, 3:45 PM

    After my mother died, my father would play this piece. I play it, too. But without people in the house. I seldom get through it without weeping.

  • Aggie November 9, 2020, 7:27 AM

    May I also recommend the Gnossian dances by Satie, equally reflective and perhaps even more reflective. One of my favorite quirky composers; I always like it when I can tell that the composer has a sense of humor.

  • ghostsniper November 9, 2020, 7:38 AM

    So now CNN calls the new presidency?
    Where my mask is?
    The one with 1000yd NV goggles built in.

  • gwbnyc November 9, 2020, 7:57 PM

    I chased this down online some time ago and have a file- it’s heard occasionally in films usually illustrating a woman in a pensive interlude. I believe it was written in that lght.

    “Oh Fortuna” is another “what is that called?” piece.

  • Mark Andrew Carpoff November 9, 2020, 8:41 PM

    Well said, Mitchell Strand . Wrap all that up in a ball and you got Samuel Barber’s Adagio for strings. Not trying to be smartass . Love what you wrote, very beautiful.

  • Montefrío November 10, 2020, 9:24 AM

    At the risk of being a bore, this piece of music, long a favorite, was instrumental in encountering by chance my second wife. We share a love for it and had a string quartet play it at our wedding 18 years ago. It was also used as the intro music for a wonderful Spanish film: “El Abuelo”, based on a novel by Pérez Galdós, written in 1897. Listen often to this moving music and watch the movie!

  • Mark Andrew Carpoff November 11, 2020, 11:19 PM

    I can commit towards your assessment towards Satie. However , music . music defines itself without words though it comes to us in ways of words. Following deep in it’s definition evaporates our intellect yet we fall into the complexity it provides. A given nutrient as though we were a plant. I say this only for the love I have for music . Gods aspirin.

  • Kristin November 12, 2020, 5:56 AM

    It’s beautiful and it makes my heart ache a bit, no, a lot.
    It brings me back to good memories which never will be duplicated, never to feel the same thing that was.
    Gerard wishing you solace in this time.
    Some commenters here also have a beautiful way to say what moves them. It moves me too.