1887 in Music

Music reviews I’ve written for music published in 1887.

1. Erik Satie: Sarabandes (10/10)

I lack the musical knowledge to properly put these in their place. Read what someone else (Mary E. Davis) has to say:

the Sarabandes introduce compositional approaches that would prove important not only in Satie’s later work but also in the broader history of French music…they presented a new conception of large-scale form, in which groups of three very similar pieces, deliberately interlinked by means of motivic cells, harmonic events and recurring interval patterns, combine to constitute a unified work.

What she said. But, basically, revolutionary. And nice to listen to, to boot.

1. Leos Janacek: “Na pamatku” (9/10)

“In Memoriam” is the kind of thing the impressionists were about to start writing. It feels a bit ahead of its time, actually.

3. Gabriel Faure: Piano Quartet No. 2 (8/10)

This is a marked improvement on the first quartet, a lot more animated and compelling than the pleasing yet kind of slight first effort.

4. Erik Satie: Valse-Ballet (8/10)

Much longer than his Allegro but still daring in its brevity; this piece is quite nice though it is very much what you would expect: a brief waltz.

5. Leos Janacek: Suite for Strings (7/10)

The ‘Suite for Strings’ is quite pleasant; a pretty typical Romantic tone poem to my ears. Though it’s certainly not as interesting as his later music, it’s extremely pretty.

6. Edward Elgar: “March in D major” (7/10)

This is a piano piece that I am not sure whether or not it’s an excerpt from a larger piece, or a piano adaptation. The liner notes said this was its name, but I cannot find it on his list of compositions. Anyway, standard stuff.

7. Erik Satie: Fantasy-Valse (7/10)

Not that I know much about the waltz genre, but this strikes me as pretty conventional and, though it is certainly nice to listen to, nothing particularly daring, despite its brevity.

8. Gabriel Faure: Clair de lune (6?/10)

So disgusted, as I was, by its presentation seemingly arbitrarily on a disc, I didn’t review this individually at the time.

But I really don’t know that I can ever associate this title with anything but Debussy’s piano piece (which was inspired by this one, apparently). It is apparently a very famous piece, but I cannot judge it fairly. I just really would prefer to hear my favourite piano piece instead.