Vexations

 
 

Erik Satie’s “Vexations” (ca. 1893) is a short piano piece to be repeated 840 times. Satie may not have meant for it to be played, but John Cage—attracted to its serial, durational nature—staged it in New York with pianists in a relay in 1963. The performance lasted almost 19 hours.

In 2017, 20 musicians realized “Vexations” at the Guggenheim in conjunction with the exhibition “Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897.” Satie, likely vexed with the Salon’s organizer, wrote the work after they parted ways. Performers included players from 1963—Philip Corner, David Del Tredici, Joshua Rifkin, and Christian Wolff—as well as renowned Satie interpreter Anne Queffélec and Cage collaborator Margaret Leng Tan.

Credits:
Producer, Editor: Stephan Knuesel
Videographers: Sebastian Diaz, Giacomo Francia, Stephan Knuesel, Caroline Stucky
Sound recordist and Mix: Josh Allen
Composer: Denise Mei Yan Hofmann (denisehofmann.com)
Guggenheim Producer: Naomi Leibowitz