For Sunday: Erik Satie’s Fourth Nocturne

satie 4 nocturne

I have a liking for the music of Erik Satie. When Partner and I were in France last October, we visited Satie’s childhood home in Honfleur, and one of his residences in the Montmartre district of Paris. He’s one of my favorite composers. He was a complex personality; he could be disagreeable and angry, and was a determined loner for much of his life, making and losing friends (among them Claude Debussy).

He wrote this small piece, his Fourth Nocturne, during the last years of his life. Rollo Myers, who wrote the first English-language biography of Satie, says of this nocturne: “Is there not something Chopinesque about the flowing arpeggios in the left hand which provide, as it were, so reassuring a support for the bare consecutive fifths which outline the melody above?”


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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