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Sports et Divertissements (Satie Arrangement) by DAVID BRUCE

Instrumentation Version 1: fl (dbl pic+alto)), cl (dbl bass cl), bsn, hrn, tp, tb,pn,perc,2vlns, vla, vlc,db

Version 2: fl (dbl pic+alto)), cl,cl (dbl bass cl), bsn, 2 hrn, pn,perc,2vlns, vla, vlc,db
        (both versions can be for single or multiple strings)
Duration12 mins
World PremiereMetropolis Ensemble, April 10th 2008, Times Center, New York.

Past Performances

feb 17 2011 Sports et divertissements  Arctic Philharmonic OrchestraBodo, Norway
Jul 25 2009 Sports et divertissements  Orchestra of St LukesCaramoor Festival, NY
Apr 10 2008 Sports et divertissements (world premiere) Metropolis EnsembleTimes Center, NYC

Video The last, short movement of my Satie arrangements takes its tennis theme very seriously, introduced by Mike Daisey.

Recording Full recording Available on request

Exerpts (of version 2) below performed by the Metropolis Ensemble, conducted by Andrew Cyr, Narrated by Mike Daisey, April 10th 2008, Times Center, New York.

01 - Choral Inappetissant - Unappetizing chorale: For the dried up and the stultified I have added a chorale, sober and suitable. This makes a sort of wormward preamble. A way of starting out wholly austere an unfrivolous, I have put into it everything I know about boredom. I dedicate this chorale to those who already dislike me and withdraw.

02 - La Balancoire - In a swing: My heart it is that swings and swings, it never gets dizzy. What tiny feet it has. Will it want to come back to my chest

03 - La Chasse - Hunting: Do you hear the rabbit singing - what a voice! The nightingale is in her burrow. The owl is succling her young. The wild boar plans to get married. Me, I shoot down walnuts with a rifle.

04 - La Comedie italienne - Commedia del' arte: Scaramouche boasts about the charms of military life. You get to know your way around he says. The civilians are afraid of you. And as for romantic adventures, and all that - what a life!

05 - Le Reveil de la Mariee - Wake up the bride!: Arrival of the wedding party, voices calling, GET UP! The guests pretend to play guitar using straw hats. A dog dances with his fiancee

06 - Colin-maillard - Blind mans buff: Find him miss! The one who loves you is just two steps away. How pale he is. His lips are trembling. You laugh? He holds both hands to his heart. You pass him by without suspecting.

07 - La Peche - Fishing: Water bubbling at the bottom of a stream. A fish arrives, then another. Two others. Wassup! It's just a poor fisherman. Thanks. They all go away, including the fisherman. Water bubbling at the bottom of a stream.

08 - Le Yachting - Yachting: The wind is heaving like a seal. What weather! She's behaving like a little fool. The sea is quite out of hand. Let's hope she won't crash on a rock. Can no one calm her down. I don't want to stay here says the pretty passanger. It is not amusing. I prefer something else. Call me a cab.

09 - Le Bain de mer - Sea-bathing: The sea is wide madame. At least it's deep! Don't sit on the bottom it's very damp. Here come some nice old waves. Oh Madame! You are all wet. Oui Monsieur, they're full of water

10 - Le carnaval - Carnival: Confetti is falling all around. That one has on a melancholy mask. A tipsy Pierot tries walking straight. Enter, gracefully, some masked ladies. People push to see them, are they pretty?

11 - Le Golf - Golf: The colonel is wearing bright green scotch tweeds. He will be victorious. His caddie walks behind with the bags. The clouds are amazed. The holes are all-a-tremble. Now the colonel is there, look! How he measures his shot! His club bursts into splinters.

12 - La Pieuvre - The Octopus: The octopus sits in his cave. He is teasing a crab and chasing it around. He swallows it the wrong way. He turns pale, stumbles over his own feet. He takes a glass of salt-water to settle his stomach. The drink does him good, makes him feel more cheerful.

13 - Les Courses - The races: The weighing in, buying a programme, the crowd. 20 to win in place. At the starting gate, they're off! There are always some that insist on going the wrong way. Here come the losers. Noses in the air. Ears drooping.

14 - Les Quatre-coins - Puss in the corner: The four mice in the corner. The cat. The mice tease the cat. The cat stretches. He pounces. Pussies got a corner.

15 - Le Pique-nique - Picnic: Everyone has brought potato salad. You have on a lovely white dress. Oh my! An aeroplane. Not at all, it's a storm coming up.

16 - Le Water-chute - Shooting the chute: If you a strong stomach you won't be sick. It will seem like falling off a scaffoling. You will see what a strange feeling it is. Look out! Don't turn pale! I don't feel well. That just shows you were in need of a little amusement.

17 - Le Tango Perpetuel - The endless Tango: The Tango is the devil's dance. His favourite one. He uses it for cooling off. His wife, his daughters and his servants all cool off that way.

18 - Le Traineau - Sleighing: What bitter cold! Ladies keep your noses in your furs. The sleigh sails. The landscape is terribly cold and can't stand still.

19 - Le Flirt - Flirtation: They say pretty things to each other. Modern things. 'How are you?', 'Don't you find me nice', 'Leave me alone', 'You have such big eyes', 'I wish I were on the moon'. He sighs. He shakes his head.

20 - Le Feu d'Artifice - Fireworks: How dark it is! Oh! Coloured lights. A rocket, an all-blue rocket. Everyone admires it. An old man goes quietly mad. The final burst!

21 - Le Tennis - Tennis: Play? Yes! He has a good serve. What handsome legs he has. And a fine nose! A slashing serve. Game!

Programme Note

Commissioned by the Metropolis Ensemble, New York.

Satie's Sports et Divertissements presents itself in such a deliberately humble, almost self-depricating manner that it's easy to overlook the quality of Satie's inventiveness. Indeed I think I only really appreciated the true depth and subtlety of Satie's art once I began the process or orchestration. I tried to pick an orchestral palette which resonated with the subject matter of the individual pieces, (ranging as it does from circus clowns to and octopus in its cave) and in doing felt a sense of polishing up a tiny gem to reveal an extraordinary richness and strangeness. The tiniest of fragments which might whizz past in the piano piece and which might seem unremarkable, suddenly jumped into life - its true significance seeming stronger than ever.

Most notable were a wealth of connections with Satie's Parisian contemporaries - particularly Debussy and Stravinsky - connections which had only been marginally apparent to me in listening to the piano version. What we now think of as a Stravinskian orchestral sound is particularly evident in the pieces that evoke the circus or the comedia del' arte characters - the combination of 'earthy' circus music sounds with the particular kinds of harmony and repetitive patterns Satie uses bring out the Stravinsky connection especially strongly - and makes one reconsider the extent of the influence Satie exerted on the great Russian composer.

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