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Erik Satie
TROIS GNOSSIENNES for solo instrument and piano
Goodmusic GM301

Catalogue Number: GM301

ISMN: 9790222312685

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Trois Gnossiennes  Piano Accomp. image
An arrangement for a variety of solo instruments with piano accompaniment. Suitable for Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone in Eb or Bb, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone or Tuba. Buy the piano accompaniment part plus whatever solo part you require.
This may also be performed with orchestral accompaniment. See GMCL211.

Erik Satie (1866-1925) composed his Trois Gnossiennes between 1890 and 1893. Although he wrote four other pieces in a similar vein for piano, who others subsequently named Gnossiennes, the first three are by far the best known of his piano output along with the Trois Gymnopedies. The word Gnossiennes was artificially invented by Satie. At that time, he was interested in 'Gnosticism', or the seeking of wisdom as a result of helping others. Others attribute the title to the Cretan word 'knossos' or 'gnossos'. The remains of the Palace of Knossos were first discovered in 1878 and there was much talk at the time of the connection to the myth of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur.
Like the Gymnopedies, the Gnossiennes are dreamy, mysterious, harmonically modal and similar to each other in mood, with the Gnossiennes, being more Middle Eastern in their melodic construction. They were originally written in free time, without time signature and bar lines, the idea presumably being to invite freedom of interpretation. For this version, I have put in bar lines and time signatures, as it would clearly be confusing in rehearsal if there was no clarity to indicate where to stop and start! However, the bar lines should not be regarded as a constriction and I have indicated that each piece should be rather elastic (rubato) in tempo.
Throughout, Satie gave typically quirky instructions to the pianist and I have reproduced these in the score above the relevant instrumentalist's phrase, with a translation from the French…not a literal one in some cases. For instance, at one point Satie instructs the performer to Ouvrez la tete (literally ‘open your head’). I have altered the translation to open your mind, as this would be more likely to engender a slight difference in the way in which the performer interpreted the phrase, if only just! Peter Lawson

Duration 7½ minutes

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