Erik Satie's "Vexations"

Who can tell how far avant-garde godfather Erik Satie (1866-1925) had his langue in his joue when he instructed performers of his Vexations, a wayward, two-line chorale, to repeat the piece 840 times? He has occasionally been taken at his word—a performance which has taken 12 to 28 hours, depending on how Vexations’ only tempo instruction, “Very slow,” has been interpreted. In what is almost certainly the work’s Seattle premiere, a relay of pianists tackle it, including Robin Holcomb, Wayne Horvitz, Gust Burns, and Korby Sears. I’m still deciding whether I want to try to camp out overnight and hear the whole thing. GAVIN BORCHERT

Sat., May 15, 4 p.m., 2010

 
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