So beautifully mellow and sad, why did Amélie made me feel depressed? That faux happiness? Even this piece has its schmaltz and look how many people recorded themselves playing it at Youtube. There is – and this one has the highest level of kitsch, but it works – a version accompanied by an animation film (Aidan Gibbons – The Piano) of an old man reminiscing about his past life .
(check the 1987 version This Is Stranger Than Love by the British dub and industrial musician Mark Stewart And The Maffia. It has added vocals and sparse electronic beats, and is co-produced by Adrian Sherwood.)
This article, besides describing the compositions and their orchestration by Claude Debussy, also discusses why Satie and his friend, the poet Contamine de Latour, chose to use the word gymnopédie, which refers to an Ancient Greek dance, the gymnopaedia.
Because the original gymnopaedia was danced in Sparta by naked boys, some see this as a not-so-subtle allusion to Satie’s supposed homosexuality. This article also addresses that question.