1912 in Music

My music reviews for music published in 1912.


1. Erik Satie: Véritables préludes flasques (pour un chien) (10/10)

The second set are notably more commanding and declarative than the first which is why they launched his career nearly two decades late.


2. Erik Satie: Préludes flasques (pour un chien) (9/10)

For some reason – I guess because he was relatively unknown – this work of Satie’s was initially rejected, resulting in the second set. Very much classic Satie.


3. Leoš Janáček: “The Fiddler’s Child” (9/10)

This is a pleasant and engaging orchestral ballad. It’s one of my favourite things I’ve heard by Janacek so far; it’s high romantic in all the best ways.


4. Frederick Delius: “Summer Night on the River” (8/10)

This mood piece does an excellent job of conjuring a lazy float down a slow river at night in the summer, or walking by it. But unlike some of Delius’ other pieces, there is mystery here. And I like that.


5. Frederick Delius: “On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring” (7/10)

This piece is just oozing with Romantic lushness. It’s very pretty but it’s also so damn typical of the British music of its era. I feel like we’re supposed to be swept away by the image of a spring day on some estate  in England somewhere; the rain has stopped, the sun is out and we don’t have any work to do because we’re the idle rich. So, in that sense, it’s effective. But should we really celebrate stuff that is so of a moment? I’d much prefer to listen to something that lets us know there’s an arms race on and that is fearful of the future.


6. Erik Satie: 2 Rêveries nocturnes (7/10)

Two earlier nocturnes, less famous than the nocturnes:

  1. Pas Vite: I mean, it’s not slow either, exactly. So I guess that’s the joke. A brief little piece that’s twistier (and, I presume, harder) than usual. Playing it fast would be hard.
  2. Très Modérément: Another one where you would be hard pressed to play it anything more than “very moderately” (if that’s how it’s played). I like Satie’s sense of humour here.

I don’t quite feel that they are reveries, but maybe that’s part of the fun.

Paul Dukas: Fanfare pour précéder La Péri (6/10)

This is a piece written to precede Dukas’ ballet La Péri. I don’t know the ballet but this fanfare is what you would expect in the beginning, full of big brass. There’s a more compelling climax. Still not that much to get excited about.

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