Erik Satie, Uspud, and the mystification in aid of art

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Is it possible to understand Erik Satie's Uspud, ballet chrétien as a mystification? No, given that Satie neither wanted nor managed to mystify anyone when he tried to get Uspud performed at the Paris Opera. It was clear to all that Uspud was comical, grotesque, inadequate, ridiculous, and caricatural - in other words, a mystification; but a mystification that publicises itself as such is a failed mystification, it would seem. However Satie succeeded perfectly in mystifying the men who were leading the main musical institutions of the time, inasmuch as these never saw they were letting a revolutionary masterpiece disappear from underneath their noses. Their lack of understanding had to be, for Satie, a measure of the value of his ballet; for any really innovative work must pass for a mystification in the eyes of the powers that be.

Translated title of the contributionErik Satie, Uspud, and the mystification in aid of art
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)101-113
Number of pages13
Issue number156
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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