For the fifth volume in her series of Erik Satie's piano music, Noriko Ogawa reaches back to an early period in the composer's life. A large part of the programme comes from Satie's so-called mystical period. Influenced by medieval plainsong and avoiding all pathos, Satie resorted to austere melodies based on rhythms and harmonies simplified to the extreme; he turned away from the concepts of development and variation in favour of simple repetition of perfectly symmetrical phrases. In other words, he broke completely with the classical-romantic tradition. &&&In its purity and abstraction, Satie’s music from this period seems surprisingly modern by comparison with that of his contemporaries.
The title of this volume is Ésoterik Satie, a nickname given to the composer during the period when he began a collaboration with Joséphin Peladan, the grand-master of the ‘Rose-Croix catholique du temple et du graal’, an artistic movement close to symbolism and esotericism. Satie’s fascination for the Middle Ages is reflected not only in the music itself, but also in the titles of some works, such as Ogives (the pointed arches of Gothic architecture), Danses gothiques or Fête donnée par les Chevaliers Normand.