1891 in Music

Music reviews for music published in 1891.


1. Erik Satie: Le Fils des étoiles (10/10)

Excerpted from an elaborate 75+ minute score he wrote for a stage play, these pieces are apparently the only part that were ever performed, even at the time.

These are radical compositions specifically intended to be separate from the action on the stage. Though not officially part of his “furniture music” stage, to my knowledge, they are spiritual predecessor to that type of music, and ambient, of course.


2. Erik Satie: Gnossienne No. 4 (8/10)

This is a more virtuoso one compared to the earlier pieces, but I guess that’s relative. Good stuff.


3. Erik Satie: Première pensée Rose+Croix (7/10)

Unpublished during his lifetime, we have to assume he didn’t love these. But I quite like them. Though not quite as out there as his later music, they really do a good job of setting a brief mood and not deviating from it.


4. Claude Debussy: Arabesque No. 2. Allegretto scherzando (6/10)

This is more vibrant than the first arabesque; it’s sprightly I guess you could say. But it still really feels from another time than most of Debussy’s music.


5. Alexander Glazunov: Meditation in D major for violin and orchestra, op. 32B (6/10)

This is slight but pretty. Not really that notable.


Note yet ranked: Gabriel Faure: Cinq mélodies “de Venise” (??/10)

I have only heard


  • “Mandoline” (from Fêtes galantes)
  • “En sourdine” (from Fêtes galantes)

Bizarrely, I have heard them in reverse order, because the collection I heard them on really didn’t care about context or complete sets or anything like that.

“Mandoline” isn’t the strong melody but features tons of acrobatics, from both the singer and the strings in the background. This sounds hard, whether or not it actually is.

“En sourdine” is a pretty, pretty thing; a beautiful lead vocal part with absolutely stunning supporting strings that feel like they belong in a modern film, they’re borderline minimalist.


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