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When Erik Satie Took a Image of Debussy & Stravinsky (June 1910)


Erik Satie knew his method round not simply the piano however the digicam as properly. That is evidenced by the picture above, a 1911 portrait of Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky. Described by Christie’s as “an impressive {photograph} of the 2 composers within the library at Debussy’s residence,” it was taken by Satie on the time when Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes have been performing Debussy’s Jeux and Stravinsky’s The Ceremony of Spring. Within the background seems what appears to be like like Katsushika Hokusai’s The Nice Wave Off Kanagawa, a murals “utilized by Debussy on the entrance cowl of the primary version of his symphonic sketches La mer.”

Simply above seems one other image captured in Debussy’s residence, this one in all Debussy and Satie. “The picture was taken by Stravinsky, if my reminiscence didn’t go improper,” says one commenter on the r/classicalmusic subreddit. One other expresses confusion in regards to the topics themselves: “I believed they didn’t like one another?”

One responder explains that “they have been pals at first, for fairly a while, however later their relationship acquired worse.” Debussy’s orchestration of Satie’s Gymnopedies introduced these items to prominence, however, Satie in the end got here to really feel that Debussy had been stingy with the fruits of his nice success.

Or so, at any fee, goes one interpretation of the dissolution of Debussy and Satie’s friendship. Totally different Redditors contribute totally different particulars: one which “each time they met, Satie would reward Ravel’s music to bother Debussy,” one other that “Debussy saved a bottle of the most cost effective desk wine for Satie for when he came visiting.” It could hardly have been straightforward, even in the perfect of occasions, for 2 of the strongest innovators in early-twentieth-century music to occupy the identical social house for lengthy stretches of time, not to mention in firm that included the likes of Ravel and Stravinsky. Greater than a century later, their creative legacies might hardly be extra assured — as, one faintly senses when these images, they knew can be the case.

Associated content material:

Hear Debussy Play Debussy’s Most Well-known Piece, “Clair de lune” (1913)

Hear the Very First Items of Ambient Music, Erik Satie’s Furnishings Music (Circa 1917)

Watch the 1917 Ballet “Parade”: Created by Erik Satie, Pablo Picasso & Jean Cocteau, It Provoked a Riot and Impressed the Phrase “Surrealism”

The Evening When Charlie Parker Performed for Igor Stravinsky (1951)

The Nice Wave Off Kanagawa by Hokusai: An Introduction to the Iconic Japanese Woodblock Print in 17 Minutes

Primarily based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embody the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the guide The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by way of Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video collection The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Fb, or on Instagram.



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