he loved suzanne

Posted on Feb 18, 2012

I wanted to share with you one of the most moving and beautiful pieces written for piano I’ve ever heard. Click here to listen to the composition arranged for strings.

It’s French composer and pianist Erik Satie’s haunting Gymnopedie No. 1, published in 1888. He wrote this not long before his brief affair with the French artist and model Suzanne Valadon, who actually painted the portrait of Satie you see in this video.

Suzanne Valadon modeled for Lautrec, Renoir, Degas, and many other notable artists, which is where she learned to paint.

That’s her in this classic painting by Renoir,  “Dance at Bougival. ”

Erik Satie adored Suzanne Valadon, and even asked her to marry him on their first night together.

She said no. But she lived nearby so they could remain close.

Suzanne proved to be the only woman Satie ever really loved.

For the last nearly 30 years of his life he remained reclusive, alone in his room, writing, finally drinking himself to death in 1925.

After his death, friends continued to find unpublished compositions in the pockets of his clothes and even back behind his piano.

Suzanne went on to marry for money, then left her rich husband for a younger man. Then she left him too.

Suzanne Valadon had one child, a boy (their photo at right) She taught him to paint.

He went on to become one of the greatest painters of Paris, Maurice Utrillo.

Suzanne never revealed who the boy’s father was.

What a great movie her life would be— set of course to the music of Erik Satie.