Satie in Blue
RNCM Big Band directed by Gary Carpenter
RNCM Theatre, 21 June 2014
On Erik Satie’s death, thousands of small cards were found in his room.
The cards featured intricate calligraphy and drawings of grand mansions, castles, ocean liners, airships… Your mind alights on one of those airships as you recall this concert, a generous serving of Satie’s music rearranged for big band by Gary Carpenter and others.
Thus it glided along, gaining height. The music was radiant, dazzling. Some shadow, a few sweet moments of melancholy. Night stars. A gay, carefree joy, as from another world.
As a small indication of Satie’s idiosyncrasy and wit, or perhaps simply his inability to do things as others did, consider the performance indications that he would often give musicians. They might include ‘Dance inwardly’ or ‘Sound surprised’ or ‘Fidgety’ or even (a personal favourite) ‘Behave yourself, please: a monkey is watching you’. I don’t know what indications the band followed here, but their performances were wonderful. And Gary Carpenter, as well as arranging most of the music and directing the band, made for an affable compere, kind of a George Melly without the suit.
A wonderful concert of the music of a sublime one-off.