Satie under the stars

Satie under the stars

Erik Satie and friends were not disheartened by the lockdown cancellation of this concert’s original performance date. In fact, we think it rather spurred them on to put on a night that would be remembered for years to come! Mémoires d’un Amnésique: A piano, a film and Erik Satie, in his own words performed by Alex Metcalfe, and with Keith Lovegrove’s cinematic accompaniment and Sarah Miles’ script, was the first public performance held on Finchcocks’ new open-air stage.

Built during lockdown, the open-air stage was designed to delight Finchcocks course guests and the public alike, and ensure a safe space to continue live music once the music could start up again. What a performance to begin with!

The usually-private family gardens were a flurry of activity the day before and of the concert. A screen was mounted on the portico above the stage door to project Keith Lovegrove’s accompanying film. 100 seats were brought out from the piano cellar and main house. Garden lanterns were erected down the central garden path aisle. And, very importantly, the cocktail bar was installed under a nearby tree.

Seating plan. Some of the chairs awaiting the hundred-strong audience for the open-air performance of Mémoires d′un Amnésique

As twilight approached, guests arrived. They were treated to King’s Ginger cocktails and Erik’s dearly loved absinthe. (An important beverage to get audience members in the mood!) With atmospheric gusts of wind pulling at the flickering flames of garden lantern torches, Satie enthusiasts made themselves comfortable in armchairs and sofas and waited for the sun to finish going down.

Composure. Erik Satie, aka Alex Metcalfe, prepares for his piano recital for Mémoires d′un Amnésique.

Framed by the west elevation of grade-1 listed Finchcocks manor house, Erik Satie made his appearance and performed and spoke from his own memoires (and Sarah Miles’ artful script) in the heart of rural Kent countrside. Tying it all together was Keith’s surreal cinematic accompaniment, projected onto the wall above the beautiful Bosendorfer and setting the atmosphere of late 19th century avant-garde France!

As the film credits rolled at the end of the performance, a pretty special moment occurred: In the celestial night sky above the rooftops of Finchcocks, a shooting star accompanied the applause as Erik (Alex Metcalfe) left the stage. You couldn’t have planned it better! And a very well deserved gold star it was indeed.

Finchcocks audience plaudits for Mémoires d’un Amnésique: A piano, a film and Erik Satie, in his own words

The welcome drinks, the music and the film were exquisite. We were in the presence of Satie. The stars above Finchcocks played a perfect supporting role. It was a special, unforgettable evening. Thank you. Where next?

Such a great and memorable evening. Thank you!

Totally brilliant. Alex’s piano was wonderful. The clarity, it sounded like glass.

We enjoyed it enormously on many levels. The film was poetic. The image of the flies landing on his face will endure as will the umbrella drifting in the waves… lovely to hear very familiar music again and sit under the stars.

Fantastic show. Very moving and engaging. Thank you.

You know the rare times when you go out feeling a bit tired but by the end of the evening feel totally uplifted by what you’ve just experienced. Well worth the wait! Bravo!

Congratulations on this evening. Everything was excellent. What a huge piece of work – fresh, funny and beautiful. Alex’s playing was as impressive tonight as the recording. (Four Ogives) Quality job Lovegrove!

A triumph. Alex’s playing was exceptional.

This was the highlight of my summer.

Your film is a perfect homage to the surrealist art house stuff we knew as youngsters. But more than that it was the only way to make sense of the music of Erik Satie. 10/10 Keith

It was a great evening. Thanks! The wind in the trees added to the atmosphere. Fine performances all round!

The shell chair! It was wonderful… I even cried towards the end.

The breeze added to the ambience.

It was a lovely evening, the pianist was perfect and the chairs were marvelous.

Bravo! It was captivating.

Congratulations. Really atmospheric, a lovely evening.

It was captivating. Everyone was silent under it’s spell.

Thank you for a splendid evening at Finchcocks. Transported to a different world for a moment, was good after confined days. All very professional.

Absolutely loved it. Well done to all.

I shall remember it always. I was completely drawn in.

What a triumph! I loved the film and incredibly beautiful music and performance by Alex. And what a phenomenal setting.