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STRANGE MR. SATIE by M.T. Anderson Kirkus Star


by M.T. Anderson & illustrated by Petra Mathers

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-670-03637-4
Publisher: Viking

The author of Handel, Who Knew What He Liked (2001) profiles another musical original: Erik Satie, surrealist composer and all-round oddball, a capricious, temperamental rule-breaker whose works reflect the dreamlike quality of his eccentric life. Mathers picks up on this theme, surrounding her deceptively formal-looking figure with bohemian companions, portraying his music as streams of small toys flying from a piano or birds, fish and less identifiable items replacing conventional notation. Readers will get a coherent picture of his career, which included collaborations with Picasso and Picabia, as well as his stormy relationship with Suzanne Valadon. He died relatively young, and is last seen, “a child-man dancing / with his umbrella, / joyfully spinning / and grinning, / alone” outside the chapel where his funeral, fittingly, clashed with a wedding. Anderson closes with notes on recommended books and pieces—good thing, as this portrait makes an irresistible invitation to discover a relatively little known, but profoundly influential, 20th-century artist. (author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)