Etchings in three movements, 2014

1. d’Holothurie;

2. d’Edriophthalma;

3. de Podophthalma.


The titles are derived from a musical piece (1913) by composer Erik Satie, whose music I heard performed September 2014 at the Honens Piano Festival in Calgary. When a composer names the movements of his mini-sonata after imaginary aquatic creatures such as a sea cucumber and lowly crustaceans, I notice that! The pieces are a playful commentary on and appropriations of contemporary popular songs, and music by Chopin and Beethoven.

Composer Erik Satie completed Embryons desséchés for solo piano in the summer of 1913. “Dried embryos” are not the subject matter of these evocative miniatures at all; the real focus is invertebrates, such as sea cucumbers, pictures of which Satie found in a school textbook. Stirred by these fantastic creatures, he produced three movements that are eminently typical of his style — alive with jokes and quirky lyricism, and evocative of the proto-Surrealism prevalent among Parisian bohemians at the time.