…on Satie’s “Gymnopedie” Part Deux

This is dedicated to Mike, who recently disseminated some reflections from Erik Satie:

“We cannot doubt that animals like and practice music,” Satie wrote. He further proposed that this system, divergent from ours, is inherited; therefore, imitation. Birds are endowed: “the beak brings them close to the clarionette, and the flageolet,” whilst fish: “these poor beasts cannot even think of it.”

Erik Satie

Mike proffered that it was moderately Emersonian. Whilst Emerson did not compose (pun intended) extensively on music, he frequently drew comparisons between nature and art; my cognition and his (and now Mike’s) often meeting and converging in what I have previously termed a “thread of interconnectivity.”

There exists a palpable correlation between the animals of Satie and Emerson’s Nature. The origins of language — ideograms — were dependent upon nature; therefore, these enduringly and unremittingly reach and speak to us, and as such, every person has the capacity to communicate seamlessly with another, regardless of world view, education, social standing, etc., and those with uncorrupted minds may correspondingly interact thus. This language was the first and is hereafter, the last. Emerson observed:

“Because of this radical correspondence between visible things and human thoughts, savages, who have only what is necessary, converse in figures. As we go back in history, language becomes more picturesque, until its infancy, when it is all poetry; or all spiritual facts are represented by natural symbols. The same symbols are found to make the original elements of all languages. It has moreover been observed, that the idioms of all languages approach each other in passages of the greatest eloquence and power. And as this is the first language, so is it the last.”

~ Nature

My copy of “Nature,” annotations and observation of ideograms

As “every revolution was first a thought in one man’s mind,” every word was, by origin, a stroke of genius, whether ideogram or assemblage of characters. The brilliancy in the genesis of every word extends to distinguishing both the first speaker and the first hearer. As the earth subsumes shells, fossils, etc., language constitutes icons. Poets entitle things because they see them, in much the same manner as language is assembled of things contemplated. Emerson on words and language:

“…the poet is the Namer or Language-maker, naming things sometimes after their appearance, sometimes after their essence, and giving to every one its own name and not another’s, thereby rejoicing the intellect, which delights in detachment or boundary. The poets made all the words; and therefore, language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses.”

~ The Poet

Art and language are not merely extensions of nature; they extol it. When I first contemplated Yorkshire Wolds, I distinguished a stained glass window; to me, the parallels between this work of art and an additional art form are palpable. So they were for Emerson. That is to say, these assuredly would have existed were he to have viewed the painting today. It raises the question of what Hockney contemplated in a winter sky whose continuity was fractured by barren trees, or whether he predicted the observer to glimpse the same in the scene; conceivably, did he envisage that two divergent people existing in two different generations would discern the same…image?  And, for that matter, how many countless others? Emerson and me…meeting and converging:

“In the woods in a winter afternoon one will see as readily the origin of the stained glass window with which the Gothic cathedrals are adorned in the colours of the western sky seen through the bare and crossing branches of the forest.”

~ History

David Hockney’s “Yorkshire Wolds”

The aforementioned, appropriately titled and expanding “thread of interconnectivity” prevails proportionately in this contemplation of music, art and nature.

Is it worth noting, in this space, the relevance of the brazen bull, which produced “music,” Satie-style, so as to obscure the tortured cries of the encased?

2 thoughts on “…on Satie’s “Gymnopedie” Part Deux

  1. Genius! Your selection of Satie’s Gymnopedie- Part II is a wonderful example and I too am a fan of Satie. Another favorite of mine is Satie’s Gnossiennes-Part I. As I read your words, I could not help but think that Satie wrote some of his music in trilogies along with many other artists. The great jazz pianist, George Gershwin, composed three Preludes in which Number 2 is often referred to as Blue Lullaby (Gershwin played it with a fast tempo while other versions have been quite slow thus creating a hauntingly beautiful melody.) In education, when teaching a young child to write, we assist them to create a story with three parts- a beginning, a middle, and an end. Interestingly enough, some of those pupils grow up to be the artists that have mastered the concept on a deeper level and wish to have the viewer, reader, listener not only experience their creation but its evolution until the ending only to produce a new one. Thank you for introducing me to David Hockney’s art several years ago. I love “Yorkshire Wolds” and again, even though it is one painting, I see three panels divided by the two trees. As I gaze upon it from left to right there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. As we enjoy the season of Autumn and nature’s grandiose display of colors, we will soon see the barren trees as in Hockney’s masterpiece only to give rise to the birth of new life in the Spring. Nature and life are cyclical as I believed you discussed in your brilliantly written essay, “Circles.” Please forgive me if that is not the exact title. In addition, let’s not forget the references you cited from your hero that you included throughout that literary work of art. All forms of art are just as cyclical, so, without further ado, is art and nature interconnected? I am in total agreement and “Yes, I say, yes!” I appreciate your friendship, your incredible ability to express yourself not only in the written word but also artistically, and your beautiful mind. xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Doreen, ya have such a brilliant mind. The children under your direction are getting the best education imaginable. You fire their minds and their talents and they discover new selves because of you. I especially like your estimate of this blog post and so many other forms of expression as triptychs. You are an artist in your own right. With a beautiful intellect. Love you, my friend xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

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