Read about the Vexations piano piece considered the longest “repetitive” piece of music written for piano by Erik Satie.
About Erik Satie
Erik Satie (17 May 1866 – 1 July 1925) was a French composer and pianist who laid the foundation of various art forms like minimalism, surrealism, and repetitive music. The ‘Vexations’ is one of the examples of the repetitive music written by Erik Satie.
10 Facts About The Vexations Piano Piece
1. Nobody knows when was the composition written.
2. Erik Satie neither published the piece nor he mentioned about its performance publicly. John Cage published the composition for the first time in 1949.
3. Vexations consist roughly 180 musical notes that should be played around 840 times repetitively.
4. There’s a small note in French for the musicians who would like to play the composition. It says:
The music sheet paper has following instructions.
In order to play the theme 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, and in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities
5. Here’s the composition, if you want to play the music.
6. John Cage, An American composer was curious to know the outcome of playing the musical phrase for 840 times. Therefore, he organized the first public performance of the “Vexations” at the Pocket Theatre in Manhattan on September 9, 1963.
7. Cage formed a group of eleven pianists known as “The Pocket Theatre Piano Relay Team.” It was estimated that the piece could take severely hours to finish. Therefore, Cage came up with an idea of playing the piece in a group divided in shifts.
8. The public performance of the musical piece ‘Vexations’ took around 8 hours and 40 minutes to complete.
9. Can you imagine what could have been the aftermath?
Few people from the audience were bewildered and agitated.
“Encore”, shouted an onlooker.
Encore means an extra performance of an item at the end of a concert, as called for by an audience.
Clearly out of sarcasm, I believe.
10. Meaning of ‘Vexation’
‘Vexation’ is known as the state of being annoyed, frustrated, or worried.
Does that mean ‘Vexations’ was written to test the anxiety and patience of both the player and audience?
Let me know what you think about this.
Thanks for reading my 43rd article in the series 100-day music blogging challenge. Stay tuned for more such informative article.