May 17 – Gymnopédie 1 by Erik Satie

Erik Satie, born on this day in 1866, published his set of Gymnopédies for piano in 1888 in Paris. In contrast to the displays of virtuosity often exhibited by 19th-century piano music, these pieces are decided simple and tranquil. The precise meaning of the title is uncertain except for a poem by Contamine published alongside the first Gymnopédie which includes the lines “…amber atoms in the fire gleaming/Mingled their sarabande with the gymnopaedia.”

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