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Very Slowly
December 30, 2006 2:00 PM   Subscribe

"To play this motif 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities." Erik Satie's Vexations (previously) was more-or-less disregarded as an unperformable thought experiment, until John Cage staged an eighteen-hour performance in 1963. The event cemented Satie's importance in avant-garde music and his influence on a generation of artists. In 2006, several musicians and artists performed their own renditions.
posted by roll truck roll (17 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Many more links on the Wikipedia page, including some six-hour MIDI files.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:00 PM on December 30, 2006


I guess I got it wrong. It's Satie Saturday!
posted by wendell at 2:02 PM on December 30, 2006


...and part of sunday too, if you perform the whole thing.
posted by wzcx at 2:23 PM on December 30, 2006


More avant garde goodness here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:29 PM on December 30, 2006


Metafilter: "I have put all I know about Boredom. I dedicate it to those who don't like me."

Couldn't resist. I apologise. And yes, this is quite fascinating, thanks for the post.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:06 PM on December 30, 2006


I have the 1 hour version of this, and even that is excruciating. The problem (for me) with this piece is that it is far too repetitive to be ambient. With the constant repeating, it draws attention to itself, makes you listen closely. And then you realize that it sucks and is too boring to bear, and you watch TV with a hamburger clenched in your fist instead.

At least, that's what I do.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 3:12 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Favorite! More than 8 hours of playing a mysterious passage is bound to get more than a little hypnotic.

I got a chuckle out of this quote:

"Evans played continuously for 15 hours until he reached repetition 595, when he suddenly stopped; he was in a daze and left immediately. He writes: 'I would not play this piece again. I felt each repetition slowly wearing my mind away. I had to stop. If I hadn't stopped I'd be a very different person today... People who play it do so at their own great peril'. Valerie Butler, a member of the audience, writes that Evans said 'he had to stop because his mind became full of evil thoughts, animals and "things" started peering out at him from the score'."

I'm sure a similar effect would result from certain passages in, say, Rimsky-K, or Beethoven's Op. 111, or ... wow ... sampling and looping "L'Oiseau de Feu" now!


posted by Twang at 4:14 PM on December 30, 2006


The 840th iteration summons Azatoth, who bubbles and blasphemes at the center of all things.
posted by SPrintF at 4:44 PM on December 30, 2006


A lot of Satie is actually quite melodic and pleasant. This just seemss evil.
posted by Area Control at 7:05 PM on December 30, 2006


No, not evil.
Instead, a great joke on the bourgeois!
posted by id at 7:10 PM on December 30, 2006


Sounds like Satie was a Sadist.
posted by wendell at 7:38 PM on December 30, 2006


I thought it was interesting that the only person who was present for the entire 18 hour performance was Andy Warhol.
posted by Afreemind2007 at 7:57 PM on December 30, 2006


Satie's Gymnopedies are sublime.
posted by philad at 9:02 PM on December 30, 2006


I thought it was interesting that the only person who was present for the entire 18 hour performance was Andy Warhol.
posted by Afreemind2007 at 7:57 PM PST on December 30 [+]
[!]


Ehh, the was the only person with nothing else to do.
posted by mek at 9:18 PM on December 30, 2006


He was looking for someone to soundtrack Empire.
posted by NickDouglas at 2:25 AM on December 31, 2006


Sounds like Satie was a Dadaist.
posted by ism at 7:02 AM on December 31, 2006


I just played it 6 times in a row and my roomate started yelling at me.........
posted by peewinkle at 10:43 AM on December 31, 2006


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