1920 in Music

1. Paul Dukas: La plainte, au loin, du faune… (9/10)

This late Dukas piece is interesting for its insistent, repetitive left hand. (I think it’s the left hand.) I honestly cannot recall another piece of its era (or the previous era) that features such a repetition. It’s like proto minimalist. (Though the variations the right hand is performing are the furthest thing from minimalism.) I’m writing this a long time since a proper immersion in the music of the early 20th century and so I might be a little over-the-top with my praise, but to me this is a real standout. An utterly unique thing.


2. Arthur Honegger: “Pastorale d’été” (7/10)

This piece is quite pretty and shows off a completely different side to Honegger than I was familiar with. It’s definitely in the shaw of Debussy and appears to be something that predates Honegger’s more “mature” (but arguably far less restrained) style.


3. Erik Satie: Trois petites pièces montées [Piano duet version] (??/10)

Originally for orchestra but performed more often for piano now because the general consensus is Satie couldn’t write for orchestra.

The first piece starts off as if it is almost presaging minimalism before it gets more into his usual thing.

These are pretty like all Satie’s pieces, but I’m not sure they’re essential.


4. Erik Satie: Premier Menuet (7/10)

Time has given this perhaps too much import; viewed by some as Satie’s “farewell” to writing for the piano. I don’t hear it. What I hear is a relatively conventional piano piece (for Satie). By the way: not his first minuet by any means.