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Erik Satie, early pianoworks by Reinbert the Leeuw

Contributed by Matthijs Sluiter on Feb 15th, 2020. Artwork published in .
Erik Satie, early pianoworks by Reinbert the Leeuw 1
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

From the website of Cultuurhuis de Warande (translated):

Reinbert de Leeuw is the eminence grise from the Netherlands in the field of modern music. In the Netherlands he is best known to the general public for his three successful albums: “Satie Early Piano Works I, II and III” from 1975. (…) Satie’s music is more topical than ever. In these busy times, his sparing, tranquil music is an oasis of tranquility. Moreover, Reinbert de Leeuw interprets the compositions without frills, he is always looking for the ultimate tranquility, the boned essence, which adds a new dimension to the music.

The three parts of Erik Satie, Early Pianoworks were published by Harlekijn Holland in 1975, 1976, 1980. With her album art, designer and illustrator Annet Planten seems to emphasize that De Leeuw’s interpretations are multidimensional, and modern. The stratification is taken quite literally: superimposed and repeated portraits of Satie are combined with his name set twice in Bombere. This blocky 3-D novelty font was a Letraset design contest winner, designed by Carla Ward (or Carla Bombere?) in 1973. All other information is set in all lowercase, tight-not-touching Helvetica.

Reinbert de Leeuw passed away on Feb 14, 2020, at the age of 82.

Erik Satie, early pianoworks by Reinbert the Leeuw 2
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.
International version of volume 3.
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

International version of volume 3.

2 Comments on “Erik Satie, early pianoworks by Reinbert the Leeuw”

  1. A similar concept was taken in a completely different direction on Reinbert de Leeuw’s Vexations album (1976), in a design by Wim Crouwel. Like The Early Pianoworks, this album with Satie compositions was published by Harlekijn, Netherlands in cooperation with Stedelijk Museum. Photograph by Stedelijk Museum.

  2. Bombere may have been interesting in terms of concept, but its performance is weak. It’s quite telling that Planten had to fill in the letterforms in order to make them work – just like Filippo Maniscalco did on the other record cover with Bombere that we have documented here. Display typefaces need to have some punch. Unless when used in very big sizes, outlined faces just don’t cut it. See also the similar Vexier in use on a Mike Oldfield cover, or Mecanorma’s Domino for a single by Brownsville Station.

    Of the twenty winning designs in Letraset’s 1973 competition, several were more successful in the market than First Prize winner Bombere, including Shatter, Stilla, or Roco.

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