Robert Caby faithfully kept the memory of Erik Satie alive by writing
articles, editing and orchestrating posthumous works of Satie.
As a young student, being a classmate of Jean-Paul Sartre, he was a passionate
admirer of poetry, painting and music. At this time he met Erik Satie, who
made a strong impression on the young Caby after the performance
of 'Mercure' in June 1924. Caby became a close friend of Satie, and visited him daily in Saint-Joseph hospital during his illness until Satie's death in
After military service in Algeria, Caby worked as a music and art critic, writing articles in l'HumanitÚ, Le Monde and other newspapers. He created
surrealistic drawings and poetry with literal and political engagement. He also composed his first works, melodies on poems by Guillaume Apollinaire. Caby
then spent three months in the harmony class at Scola Cantorum, where Satie had
studied 20 years before. In the culturally boiling 1930's Caby showed his
political engagement by composing anti-nazi songs, and he spent a couple of
months in Moscow with the Groupe Octobre of Jacqus PrÚver, studying the impact
of Trotski's ideas. Until his final days he composed over 400 works -
especially melodies with poems inspired by everything from Greek mythology to the most
contemporary poetry. He also composed small operas and piano pieces.
As most of Caby's works are yet to be discovered, his son initiated in 1991
an Association of the Friends of Robert Caby (Address: 8 Rue Colonel Oudot,
75012 Paris) with the main objective to publish handwritten works of the
The first, and only, recording of Caby's piano works is now available and can
be bought here.
The Swedish pianist Olof H÷jer made an astonishing job by
performing a marvellous 70-minute compilation of some of Caby's piano works.
- Niclas Fogwall (...more
on the author)