“Tender, solemn, droll, silly and occasionally plain boring, Satie's piano music has certainly proved its appeal for performers and record collectors, judging from the number of recitals devoted to it. But this one is out of the ordinary, for unlike the majority of artists, who offer a mixed bag of pieces, Reinbert de Leeuw has chosen music that's entirely solemn and even hieratic in utterance. He begins with the archaically beautiful Gnossiennes, taking the first of them unusually slowly but with compelling concentration.
The composer's devotees will be thrilled, though you have to surrender completely to get the message of this repetitive, proto-minimalist music. The four Ogives derive their name from church architecture, and their unbarred, diatonically simple music has clear affinities with plainchant although, unlike chant, it's richly harmonised. Monotonous it may be, but that's part of its charm, if that term can apply to such a contemplative style. The very brief Petite ouverture à danser is a mere meandering sketch in lazy waltz-time, but all Satie is sacred to the converted and the writer of the bookletessay accords it four lines, finding in it (as translated here) 'a suggestion of indifference, vacillating between a melancholy melody and indecisive harmony'. (Not exactly Beethoven, one might say.) The two pensively sad triptychs of Sarabandes and Gymnopédies – here very slow yet tonally most refined – complete this finely played and recorded disc, which offers nothing whatsoever of the bouncier café-concert Satie.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010