frenchpony (frenchpony) wrote,

  • Music:

"Humoristic" Homework

An article by Alan M. Gillmor, in the 1987 issue of Canadian University Music Review, entitled "Musico-Poetic Form in Satie's 'Humoristic' Piano Suites (1913 - 1914)." You know you're in trouble as soon as you see "humoristic" in scare quotes. Clearly, Mr. Gillmor is under the impression that you can't come right out and call Satie's work "humorous" or even "funny" in a Serious Academic Journal, even though the works he describes are distinctly giggle-inducing. But all of his academic seriousness goes completely down the drain 'long 'bout page 25 or so, when he introduces this little passage, describing a suite called Chapitres tournés en tous sens:

"In turn we are introduced to a woman whose incessant, inane chatter exhausts her poor husband to the point of death, a man whose sole occupation seems to be humping very large (pumice) stones, much to the amazement of small children, and two prisoners, Jonah and Latude, who dream only of escape from their oppressive confinement."


On page 27, we learn that the French title of the second movement of the suite is "Le Porteur de grosses pierres." Now, I don't know much French, but I would not have thought to translate that as "the man who humps large rocks." Perhaps this is some bizarre Canadian slang of which I was previously unaware? Do any French speakers or Canadians want to weigh in on the matter?
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