Erik Satie – a name closely associated with his Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes but – at least to me – the rest remains a bit of a mystery. One one of the CDs I have his Chanson du Chat is featured and I always liked the playfulness of this particular song but never thought about delving deeper and finding more about Satie.

Well, this year marks his 150th birthday and such anniversaries are usually impulse for a place in the programme of the Proms. A very cleverly put together “A Satie Cabaret” was probably one of the best lunch time concerts I have ever been to! Alistair McGowan, Jean Delescluse and Alexandre Tharaud filled this hour with an amusing array of Satie’s creative outputs: songs, piano pieces and readings of his texts.

McGowan was sporting a very Satie-esque outfit – a bowler hat and a beard. His impersonation was superb! He definitely could’ve passed as the very eccentric artist. The audience thoroughly enjoyed it – several laughs were rippling through the crowd.

Delescluse and Tharaud have been working together for a few years, they’ve first met in 1997, and you can tell they are a were finely tuned team. It was a joy to watch and listen to them. What always amazes me with musicians like those two is their level of expertise! In order to make a fool out of yourself and to take the mick out of classical music you really have to know what you are doing! There was so much wit and lightheartedness in their performance.

It was also a very informative concert – I will most certainly do a lot more research on Satie. His texts gave a unique insight into his provocative mind, and I am not only taking about the song texts but also the little experts from Memoires d’un amnesique…

The whole programme was very well put together – finishing with probably one of his best know pieces – Gymnopedie No 1. This very reflective and almost lulling piece of music left you in a thoughtful place – inviting you to look deeper into some of the hints from the texts…


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