Vexations is a musical work by Erik Satie. The piece bears the inscription “In order to play the theme 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, and in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities” (Pour se jouer 840 fois de suite ce motif, il sera bon de se préparer au préalable, et dans le plus grand silence, par des immobilités sérieuses).
The first of the marathon performances of the work in this way was produced in 1963 by John Cage and Lewis Lloyd at the Pocket Theatre in Manhattan by the Pocket Theatre Piano Relay Team, organized by Cage. The piece lasted over 18 hours.
For this performance at Roulette, organized by Cole Gagne and David Weinstein, a printed program (see images) included a facsimile of the New York Times review from 1963 as well as notes by Cage, Satie, and others on the piece and its impact. Also included here, critic Alex Ross’ review of the Roulette concert, the score, and info on the players. The recording is a montage of short excerpts from each performer, running about 6 of the full 18+ hours.
The pianists in the 1993 performance of Vexations at Roulette included: “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Zeena Parkins, Jospeph Kubera, Michael Kowalski, Mark Degliantoni, Grete Sultan, Robert Ashley, Brenda Hutchinson, Denman Maroney, Joe Hannan, Bruce Posner, Christopher Berg, Chester Biscardi, Don Gillespie, Joshua Pierce, Kirk Nurock, Lois Svard, Kyle Gann, David Shea, Anthony Coleman, Norman Yamada, William Duckworth.