'Best ofs' rarely do justice to classical music composers; the compilations' limited space often results in selections which are cut from their context, short excerps of longer works, etc. This Naxos release has none of these problems. It wisely offers complete opuses (i.e. all three Gymnopedies, Sarabandes and Nocturnes, all six Gnossiennes), and its focus on pieces for solo piano (the only orchestrations included here were not done by Satie himself) gives the disc a lot of cohesion. It doesn't sound much like a typical 'Best of' - this isn't a drawback but a virtue! - and rather is a thoughtful selection of some of Satie's most interesting works. The playing is also excellent: I was personally accustomed to slower Gymnopedies, but these faster versions are worth hearing; the beautiful Gnosiennes are also nicely rendered. This recording emphasizes the 'openness' of Satie's music: the (interior) spaces it evokes can become a springboard for reflexion, relaxation, or both depending on the listener's mood. Those who are new to Satie should definitely purchase this disc.
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