I’m always interested to follow the progress of composers from Women of Note. Elena Kats-Chernin’s output continues at an incredible speed. Her many fans will be pleased to know her latest album is another collaboration with pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska, this time with Eric Satie as the muse.  Unsent love letters contains 26 miniatures by Kats-Chernin inspired by Satie’s extraordinary life and music.

“Satie’s life was a fascinating, fervoursome affair,” says pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska, who recorded the album, “from the first strike of love and then lifelong estrangement with artist and muse Suzanne Valadon, to the unexpected celebrity and conflict of his last ten years. After he died friends, gaining access to his apartment for the first time in almost three decades, found conditions both perplexing and romantically fastidious in their own way: two grand pianos one atop the other, one chair, one table, seven velvet suits and the love letters – many, many unsent love letters.”

The album reflects on idiosyncrasies and anecdotes from Satie’s life, with music that ranges from seductive orientalism to hypnotic melodies reminiscent of the ground-breaking, transcendent beauty of Satie’s own piano pieces.  Kats-Chernin’s miniature ‘imaginary building’ reflects on Satie’s sketches of imaginary buildings (which he even advertised in the newspaper for rent and purchase); ‘very shiny’is a reflection on one of his characteristically opaque performance directions and ‘postcard to a critic’ is named after Satie’s explosive response to a negative review (leading to a spell in gaol).

Kats-Chernin and Cislowska

The buoyant rhythms and rhapsodic harmonic style that have brought Kats-Chernin a reputation as one of the best-loved composers of her generation provide the perfect lens to reflect on a musical great of the previous century. Together Kats-Chernin and Cislowska The album is released today by Universal Music and available from ABC Shops and iTunes.