Satie: Complete 4–hand music/van Veen

Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

This Satie four-hand collection actually is more than complete. In addition to the composer’s own original works and transcriptions, the superb Dutch husband and wife duo Sandra and Jeroen van Veen throw in Darius Milhaud’s transcription of Cinéma (the Entr’acte from the ballet Relache), along with Jeroen van Veen’s duet arrangement of the first and third Gymnopédies in Debussy’s versions (added arpeggios, percussive effects and all). Van Veen also restores Parade’s opening Choral from the orchestral version that Satie omitted from his four-hand edition. Although the orchestral Parade’s wacky extra-musical implements (the siren, the typewriter) fall by the wayside, the duo’s spot-on tempos, perfectly judged characterizations, and seamless transitions between pieces remind me why I fell in love with this music.

The Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear (seven pieces, in reality) also stand out for the duo’s airtight synchronicity and diverse palette of articulations. They address the two Furniture Music pieces’ brusque, angular qualities, and hit upon the perfect dance tempo for La belle excentrique’s Cancan finale. Fine as the Duo Campion-Vachon’s freer, more intimately engineered interpretations may be, the nod now goes to the van Veens for outstanding musicianship and for Brilliant Classics’ attractively resonant ambience and wide dynamic range. This is a disc worth far more than its modest price, and a must for Satie fans.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: This one, Duo Campion-Vachon (Analekta)

ERIK SATIE - Complete music for piano four hands

  • Sandra & Jeroen van Veen (piano)

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