Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VEXATIONS / DE LEEUW

via ubuweb

Released by Philips on LP in 1983.
What can be said about this marvellous 3-part-miniature? That "le compositeur du musique" wanted it to be played 840 times in a row? That its enigmatic melodic and harmonic structure really gets to the listener after the umpteenth repetition? That it'll knock you out, slowly? Killing us softly, with his song?

I recommend that you listen to it as often/long as possible. Take your time, it's worth it. To me, the theme seems like some kind of interesting question which is answered by even more interesting questions, if you listen to it long enough (longer than you can stand?).

Go to sleep with it, wake up with it, or use it as an ambient soundtrack, turning the coming holidays into your own cozy Vex-mas. For hours and hours and hours and hours and hours ...

Reinbert de Leeuw is an excellent pianist - he's got "the touch", like Feldman would've said - and he's proving it here just like he did with his other Satie recordings.

"Vexations" is performed 35 times here. In order to hear the piece 840 times listeners should therefore play the recording 24 times.

Don't shoot the piano player.

Addendum:

Learn all about the "Pianoless Vexations", an eight-hour performance, performed at The Sculpture Center in New York City on Sunday, June 11, 2006:
http://www.ubu.com/sound/vexations.html

Here's an excellent article by Stephen Whittington from the University of Adelaide, Australia. "Serious Immobilities: On the centenary of Erik Satie's Vexations": http://www.af.lu.se/~fogwall/article3.html

The Great Learning Orchestra from Sweden realized an orchestral marathon of "Vexations": home.swipnet.se/sonoloco14/learning/learningframes.html



Posted by
H. C. Earwicker


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