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Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) #1262562
09/04/09 06:06 PM
09/04/09 06:06 PM
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Posts: 192
Central California
Susan K. Offline OP
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The tempo marking reads "Lent et douloureux" but I've got no clue what that means. I've been listening/watching Aldo Ciccolini playing it on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lvqoqjwfv-c) and I'm wondering what his pace would be on the metronome. I think I'm playing it too fast at 84 = quarter note.

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Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1262567
09/04/09 06:17 PM
09/04/09 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Susan K.
The tempo marking reads "Lent et douloureux" but I've got no clue what that means. I've been listening/watching Aldo Ciccolini playing it on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lvqoqjwfv-c) and I'm wondering what his pace would be on the metronome. I think I'm playing it too fast at 84 = quarter note.


Lent = very slow
http://dictionary.reverso.net/french-english/douloureux = painful

So, "Lent et douloureux" probably roughly translates to something like "slow and painful" which I would interpret as "slowly as if in pain". I know exactly zero French, so I could be way off.

Clayton -

Last edited by Clayton; 09/04/09 06:18 PM.

My listening obsessions:
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Johannes Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2
Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Clayton] #1262616
09/04/09 07:57 PM
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Susan K. Offline OP
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Clayton ~ Thanks. It makes sense. It is quite painful to play it so slowly! smile I'm thinking that it takes a lot of patience.

Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1262638
09/04/09 08:38 PM
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"Douleur" in a moral or figurative sense can also mean "distress" or "grief". I wouldn't therefore take the idea of physical pain too literally in this context. "Slowly and grief-laden," or " ... heavy with grief" could be a valid equivalent.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1262760
09/05/09 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Susan K.
The tempo marking reads "Lent et douloureux" but I've got no clue what that means. I've been listening/watching Aldo Ciccolini playing it on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lvqoqjwfv-c) and I'm wondering what his pace would be on the metronome. I think I'm playing it too fast at 84 = quarter note.


Actually, you're not too far off if you are comparing your tempo to Ciccolini's. He takes it at approximately MM=80=quarter note.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: BruceD] #1262851
09/05/09 08:51 AM
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BruceD ~ Thanks so much for both comments. Both grief-laden or heavy with grief helps me understand it more. Up to now, I was playing it as a simple (not simple as in easy, but simple in the sense of a really clear tone especially in the bass) autumn piece (I don't know why I think autumn, falling leaves, perhaps). Now, layering on a level of grief (something I know well) makes it downright haunting, much more emotionally challenging (at least for me) to play than in my earlier (and admittably shallow) interpretations.

It's interesting that I'm not that far off. I'm going to take it down to 80 and see how that feels. Although I have to admit, I feel pretty turtle slow at 84.

Again, BruceD, thank you!

Susan



Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1262856
09/05/09 09:09 AM
09/05/09 09:09 AM
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I have trouble playing anything that slowly (as Aldo)..

One thing that has helped me is a director who suggested that i play a piece at let's say 2/3s of the intended speed.. with a metronome a few times. that has really helped me focus on the rhythm of the notes within the measures.

I enjoyed his interpretation.. it's very soulful.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: apple*] #1262969
09/05/09 01:07 PM
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I have Gymnopedie No 2, it's "Lente e triste" and is marked MM=72=quarter. Lente e triste means slow and sad, so I would guess it's about the same speed.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: MarkL] #1263119
09/05/09 05:49 PM
09/05/09 05:49 PM
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Susan K. Offline OP
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72, wow! I went on-line to see if I could find out more about Satie and the Gymnopedies which is apparently a Greek dance by naked boys. However, much more helpful to me was this:

Quote
The Gymnopédies are ethereal, atmospheric pieces regarded as precursors to modern ambient music; in fact, Brian Eno, the pioneering figure of ambient music, has cited Satie as a prime influence...One of the salient features of ambient music, and indeed of the Gymnopédies, is that the listener may forget that he or she is even listening to music. Brian Eno touched upon this in a manifesto included in the liner notes of his 1978 album Ambient 1/Music for Airports: "...Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think. Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."


This was very interesting to me in that I get the sense of surprise that I'm done playing when I'm done playing. Also, knowing that Satie was trying to break from traditional forms of music and was very witty, there is a suggestion that the slow and sad or slow with grief may have indeed been tongue in cheek. Though I'm not sure how I reconcile the naked dancing boys.


Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: BruceD] #1263150
09/05/09 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
"Douleur" in a moral or figurative sense can also mean "distress" or "grief". I wouldn't therefore take the idea of physical pain too literally in this context. "Slowly and grief-laden," or " ... heavy with grief" could be a valid equivalent.

Regards,


I would interpret it in a figurative sense too...

CA



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Music is my best friend.


Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: ChopinAddict] #1263399
09/06/09 10:06 AM
09/06/09 10:06 AM
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There's a recording of Satie by Dutch avant-gardist Reinbert de Leeuw which uses such glacial tempi that the music becomes either mystically brilliant or soporific, depending on POV. So: play as slowly and sorrowfully as you like, or as you can while keeping it musically interesting. Not so fast it looses its contemplative character.

I think there's lots of room for your *own* interpretation, which depends on your personality (do you fall asleep at slow tempi), your technique (can you keep it interesting if slow or calm if moving), the piano you are playing right now (does it resonate, is the tone fascinating enough to slow down). If your piano is a digital as it says in your profile, you will need to add reverb or simply speed up a bit.

This is perhaps not "useful" advice, but IMHO you should have fun, experiment, play it differently every single time. This is one of those pieces which can be played in a reasonably wide range of tempi and sound "correct".

Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Akshay] #1263438
09/06/09 11:01 AM
09/06/09 11:01 AM
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Susan K. Offline OP
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Akshay ~ You make an excellent points here and the advice is very useful, especially about having fun and experimenting. This is my very first piece that I've dared to interpret. It touches me with its simplicity and playing slowly certainly highlights ANY deficiencies in technique -- as I've discovered. Thank you and welcome!

Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1952531
09/01/12 10:46 AM
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You might consult a French dictionary for "Lent et douloureux." It means slow and sorrowful. You might also look at the metronome marking (Editions Salabert) which is quarter note = 66.
Quite a bit slower than 84. Gymnopedie #2 is even slower. If you want to be authentic.

Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1952580
09/01/12 12:23 PM
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Three-year old thread revived by a new visitor!


BruceD
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Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: BruceD] #1952699
09/01/12 05:12 PM
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Pretty interesting thread, really. It inspired me to go listen to the above-mentioned Reinbert de Leeuw playing the Gymnopedie No. 1 (here). It is indeed glacially slow, but when it finished just now I felt strangely refreshed - and yet hungry to hear something much faster and more exuberant (like maybe the aria from Gould's '82 Goldbergs, or the intro to Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony).

Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1952741
09/01/12 06:44 PM
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For me the Gymnopiedies have always caused real pain, the literal sense of douloureux as was mentioned above. I don't get his music. I find myself wandering between notes. The birth of elevator music I guess. And, definitely no naked boys in that horizon.

Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1953085
09/02/12 05:04 PM
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the 1st is to be played 'lent et douloureux', the 2nd 'lent et triste' the 3rd 'lent et grave',
don't you get the pun? 'lent' means: 'slowly' and the other 3 are synonyms of 'full of sorrow, 'etc. 'Gymnopedies' would actually mean 'barefeeted', no naked boys involved here, and Satie did it again: he fooled you.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: MathGuy] #1953113
09/02/12 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MathGuy
Pretty interesting thread, really. It inspired me to go listen to the above-mentioned Reinbert de Leeuw playing the Gymnopedie No. 1 (here). It is indeed glacially slow, but when it finished just now I felt strangely refreshed - and yet hungry to hear something much faster and more exuberant (like maybe the aria from Gould's '82 Goldbergs, or the intro to Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony).


If you like de Leeuw's Satie (and I do - a lot), you might want to try out his late Liszt, too. It's equally engrossing, if you can handle the slow tempos. Funny, for years I had only heard him in that kind of slow and introverted solo piano playing, and it came as a bit of a shock when I heard him conduct a very energetic performance of a symphony by Robert Simpson - it's hard to imagine a bigger contrast.

Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1953481
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conducting and playing, ah, what a difference, never heard de Leeuw play anything fast.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1: How slow? (or fast?) [Re: Susan K.] #1953535
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