Coquecigrue by ESP - Erik Satie Project published on 2014/01/27 16:28:34 +0000 The Coquecigrue is an imaginary creature mentioned in literature for the first time by Rabelais in 'Gargantua' - and presumably invented by him. It was a chimerical beast combining a cockerel, a crane and a stork (or perhaps cock, hemlock and crane)and seen as the height of grotesque absurdity. The term has been translated into English as 'Pigwidgeon'. Satie had a fondness for Rabelais, and returned to these themes for the Trois petites pieces montées of 1920. This is the second of Satie's Cinq Grimaces - circus clown music that he wrote for a projected Circus Médrano performance for 'Un Songe d'une Nuit d'été' (Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'). This was a project initiated by Jean Cocteau which did not see fruition. The parts of Bottom, Flute and Starveling were to be played by the Fratellini brothers. In the original manuscript sketches of this second piece (now kept in the Houghton Library, Harvard) Satie planned it as 'Chants de coqs et cocasseries diverses; 16 mesures' - "Songs of cockerels and diverse comicalness." It ended up as 24 bars lasting under 30 seconds. The original orchestral version (which was composed in 1915, and orchestrated with the assistance of Milhaud, and possibly Varèse) has been re-arranged here by James Nye.