Erik Satie
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Premier pensée Rose+Croix

Satie's first Rosicrucian work is probably the slow little march Premier pensée Rose+Croix, posthumously published and entitled by Robert Caby. It is presumably also identical to the Marche antique pour la Rose+Croix that is said to have been performed at a Rosicrucian soirée, composed by one Bihn Grallon, a character in Péladan's Le Panthée, a poor cabaret pianist much like Satie. Many of the stylistic elements that were to be characteristic of Satie's music in the first half of the 1890s appear in this piece in a concentrated form. This music came to be labelled, all-embracingly if somewhat inaccurately, as his Rosicrucian music: a slow, solemn tempo, soft tone (mainly piano and pianissimo), a sad and mysterious atmosphere, a systematic structure of repetition and transposition of smaller parts as a guiding principle, no time or bar-lines and triads constantly circling the tritone (in the Middle Ages known as the diabolus in musica but in this case probably acting as a symbol for the Trinity and the Rosicrucians: in this piece B minor is set aginst F major, E minor against B flat major, etc).
Olof Höjer

Manuscipt of Première Pensée Rose + Croix, click to enlarge

Source: Biblioteque National, Paris, Ms 10051(1)