Reinbert de Leeuw – Erik Satie

satie

You want enemies in the classical game? Review this fucking album.

There’s gonna be some hoity-toity motherfuckers sitting at home all high and mighty on their classical thrones made of ivory, money, and puppies’ tears that will read this (probably not, let’s be honest), scoff in some profound and sanctimonious way, and I will lose any and all credibility as a classical music connoisseur. But guess what? I don’t fucking care. They’re wrong. I’m right. No, you’re immature!

Yesssssss, I know this is a dramatically slower version of every other Satie out there. I’ve heard the complaints. “Reinbert is only playing it this slow to give a false depth to the pieces. Anyone could do that.” No, he isn’t. And no, they couldn’t. This is one of the only renditions of Satie that allows breath. It gives the notes room to float into every crevice of your being before the next note is played as softly and naturally as rain water hitting a leaf in spring. To anyone out there that doesn’t like classical music, or thinks it’s all a bunch of silly shits playing the same tunes over and over, I fucking dare you to check this out. Go ahead. Fall in love with it, you dirty slut. You won’t be able to stop yourself. Allow your heart to melt to the pure honest liberating simplicity of these gorgeous fucking pieces. Find the mystery, joy, and emotional depth in simple waltzes. Find yourself falling in love and lusting over Reinbert’s renditions. Then, one day, you’ll hear some silly shit play their version and you’ll boil with rage. That’s how this works. I have held on to this recording of Satie since it first came out and have listened to it countless times. Many times it’s been quietly playing in the background as I read or enjoyed my day. It’s fucking relaxing. It’s been there with me during moments of tragedy and heartbreak. These notes have said what my soul was unable too. These songs have acted as auxiliary tears, laughter, and existential fucking contemplation. This music has allowed me to suck life’s bone marrow and drink in its essential nature, contemplate the seconds like hours, and laugh at this fleeting and ineffable joke which, somehow, answered all of life’s question only to forget a moment later what the fucking punchline was. Is this a recommendation? Ya, it fucking is.

I’m sad to say that Reinbert de Leeuw, that beautiful Dutch bastard, is now teaching the universe the subtlety of silence. He died back in February at 81 years of age. His impact on the “contemporary” classical world was huge. Many love his renditions of Bartók, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, or Messiaen. Personally, I will always love his Satie. His daring to do what he believed to be beautiful to the best of his ability has been a constant inspiration to me. Anyone can hate or break shit. But to love or create something worthwhile, that shit takes time. Hell, you might even say it requires room to breathe.

 

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