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Preparation for Satie's Vexations
#2918236 11/30/19 03:49 PM
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Me and a percussionist friend planned to perform an arrangement of Satie's Vexations together sometime this december, with an approximate duration of 20 hours.

Thing is - I know about the need to fast beforehand to avoid the brown horror on stage, but surely you can't stop the yellow river from flowing?

I mean... I know that I have to drink to survive the performance - and I don't just mean "drink", but actual water as well every once in a while.

A disguised potty?

Tubes and 2 liter bags? (I could see turning that into an audiovisual performance... )

Training your bladder till it expands to the size of a horse's?

Not drinking the day before, day of and during the performance, and hoping you won't die?

How? Anyone have any experience performing this?

Serious question. Thanks!

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918243 11/30/19 04:12 PM
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No. Don't.

I played Vexations twice, though only as part of a team of pianists. We had 2 hour shifts with 3 people - one who played, one who counted - which I believe the player can't do! - and one who rested. I played the night shift from midnight to 2 in the morning and that was quite lovely. We played and counted very seriously, though there was noone listening. The counting was done by opening those little paper umbrellas that they used to habe in ice cream parlours, which was nice. Playing this alone sounds unhealthy, I would not recommend this. And I'm pretty sure the composer would have chuckled at the idea that his 2 lines of music would be played for 20 hours just because he wrote something funny onto the page...

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918244 11/30/19 04:20 PM
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According to the Wikipedia article on "Vexations," performances have included pianists with "reserves" to take over, as the work lasts approximately 18 hours or so. You and your colleague might be well advised, in order to avoid any compromising situations, to have "reserves" at the ready!

The text of the work is very short; only it is to be played 840 times, according to modern interpretations of the directions! Thus, you may need someone to keep account of how many times the theme is played: "Was that 437 or 438?!"

Wikipedia: Vexations

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918247 11/30/19 04:26 PM
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Well, yes, we could use resrves...

But i'm still wondering how something like this is possible: https://youtu.be/jZNknHHgm0M ??

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918354 11/30/19 09:18 PM
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When you have to go, you go

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918444 12/01/19 04:19 AM
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I've done Vexations twice, both as part of a team- the first, it was a group of four on vibraphone, but I had a hard time believing in the point of it all and the most I could volunteer were two two-hour shifts, only because I felt bad for the project leader, who was determined to complete the madness all night on her own. The second was with a large line-up of pianists from a big university, so everyone played for 20 or 30 minutes, with two people at the bench at any moment: one ticking off another repetition on a piece of paper and ready to jump in seamlessly once their turn was up. It was pretty nice, although of course it cheated Satie's instructions. And you had pianists who started playing very subtle "variations" to keep it interesting, changing accents or bringing out different voices, which also totally defeated the point of the stillness and state of trance.

This has always reminded me of the man who literally took out his eye when he looked at a woman with desire, because "Jesus had said so". Oh Satie, master of playing the line between seriousness, frivolousness, fantasy, mockery, and a big joke. Have we lost our taste for poetry? "In order for this motive to play itself 840 times in a row, it would be good to prepare oneself beforehand, in the biggest silence, and by serious immobilities." He also notates this in such a way that you cannot go on auto-pilot but have to keep reading, unless of course you actively memorize it beforehand. He would probably be laughing in his grave, although even his own laughter would be disguised as something we would be unable to identify as such.


"Love has to be the starting point- love of music. It is one of my firmest convictions that love always produces some knowledge, while knowledge only rarely produces something similar to love."
Arthur Schnabel

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918453 12/01/19 05:37 AM
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Satie must have been joking, then again, if playing this for eighteen hours straight doesn’t give you the vexation of a permanent earworm, nothing will.

We visited the Satie museum in Honfleur, France. It was a blast! You get a little playback device which goes off when you enter different exhibits.

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918584 12/01/19 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by CianistAndPomposer
Me and a percussionist friend planned to perform an arrangement of Satie's Vexations together sometime this december, with an approximate duration of 20 hours.
[..]


My question: Why?

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918600 12/01/19 02:02 PM
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Personally, I'd be more impressed if a piano duo performed the seven pieces of Trois morceaux en forme de poire while wearing Spiderman-type suits made of pears......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
bennevis #2918607 12/01/19 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Personally, I'd be more impressed if a piano duo performed the seven pieces of Trois morceaux en forme de poire while wearing Spiderman-type suits made of pears......


I believe he had this in mind:

[Linked Image]

I do want to see the piano played with those appendages.

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918618 12/01/19 02:45 PM
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With all due respect, I'd consider that 20 hours of my life that I'd never get back. A waste.

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
BruceD #2918641 12/01/19 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by CianistAndPomposer
Me and a percussionist friend planned to perform an arrangement of Satie's Vexations together sometime this december, with an approximate duration of 20 hours.
[..]


My question: Why?

Regards,


Because it would be a crazy experience.

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
LarryK #2918642 12/01/19 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by bennevis
Personally, I'd be more impressed if a piano duo performed the seven pieces of Trois morceaux en forme de poire while wearing Spiderman-type suits made of pears......


I believe he had this in mind:

[Linked Image]

I do want to see the piano played with those appendages.


Not sure how that could be arranged.

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918655 12/01/19 03:47 PM
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Erik Satie was smart enough and never played it himself nor even tried to organize a concert. Obviously he thought that it was a good joke and that no one would ever actually try to realize .... until John Cage.

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918737 12/01/19 07:55 PM
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I think it sounds like a great idea! I love the absurdity of it.

Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
johnstaf #2918767 12/01/19 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
I think it sounds like a great idea! I love the absurdity of it.

I remember that the good ol' BBC once broadcast the whole rigmarole through the night on the, er, Through The Night programme on Radio 3. The performance was a live broadcast by a team of pianists (I can't remember how many). One of the pianists was interviewed, and he related how he changed the voicing of the chords each time he repeated them, to stop himself falling asleep while playing.

Talking about sleep, BBC Radio 3 also broadcast Sleep (a mere seven hours) by Max Richter in its entirety (last year, I think) live from the Wellcome Institute on Through The Night, while volunteers slept around the performers, just as the composer (who also played the piano/keyboard) intended. Here is a snippet of the ultimate hypnotic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lauw7hvzDkE


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2918928 12/02/19 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CianistAndPomposer
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by bennevis
Personally, I'd be more impressed if a piano duo performed the seven pieces of Trois morceaux en forme de poire while wearing Spiderman-type suits made of pears......


I believe he had this in mind:

[Linked Image]

I do want to see the piano played with those appendages.


Not sure how that could be arranged.


Satie would have thought of a way, or maybe not, LOL. The “arms” do go up and down.

This is a pear sculpture from Maison Satie, the Satie museum, in Honfleur, France. I should have provided some context. I spent a wonderful afternoon in that sleepy little museum.

I’ll take my twenty hours and go back there. Time is what we have the least of.

Last edited by LarryK; 12/02/19 06:56 AM.
Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2919935 12/04/19 11:41 PM
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While we’re on the subject of Erik Satie (my favorite composer, BTW) I would suggest that anyone interested in what —in my humble opinion— is the most sensuous piece of music ever written, take a look at “Caresse”... top that if you can!


Henri in Florida
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Re: Preparation for Satie's Vexations
CianistAndPomposer #2919937 12/04/19 11:52 PM
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I think it should only be played as an encore to a performance of Opus Clavicembalisticum.


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