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Caby, Robert

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 July 1925.

After military service in Algeria, Caby worked as a music and art critic, writing articles in l'Humanité, 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 Préver, 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 composer.

The first, and only, recording of Caby's piano works is now available and can be bought here. The Swedish pianist Olof Höjer made an astonishing job by performing a marvellous 70-minute compilation of some of Caby's piano works.

- Niclas Fogwall (...more on the author)



  1. Piano Pieces
Jan 5, 2016
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