Jean-Yves Thibaudet has undertaken the complete solo piano works of another late nineteenth/early twentieth century French composer: Erik Satie. This even includes a sample of Vexations, that theme and two variations that Satie instructs to be played slowly, 840 times. It's interesting to compare Thibaudet's interpretations of these works with those of Aldo Ciccolini, who was one of Thibaudet's teachers. Overall, Thibaudet gives a less-Romantic interpretation, with less overt emotion and more introverted abstraction, but it is not overly academic. The music hall pieces, such as Je te veux and Le Piccadilly have a good dancing tempo that doesn't give often to rubato. In places, repeated figures and phrases do not vary much in speed or volume, which is how most musicians are instructed to add interest to repeated motives. On the other hand, the "Enfantines" pieces, written for children to play, are performed with a great deal of subtle sensitivity. Indeed, Satie's particular (and sometimes peculiar) performance notes are made for interpretations as individual as each performer and are what make his music difficult to perform. Thibaudet certainly skillfully conveys his interpretations to the listener, with minimal additional explanation needed in the liner notes. Most often, what you hear is what the title of the work implies. One note on the sound quality: at the end of the second disc in the music hall pieces, the sound quality between the tracks is noticeably different, as if they were made on different pianos or in different studios.
AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita
Track Listing - Disc 1
|Sarabandes (3) for piano|
|Gymnopédies (3), for piano (also orchestrated by Debussy)|
|Gnossiennes (6), for piano|
|Pièces froides (Cold Pieces), pieces (6) for piano|