Boomkat Product Review:
First vinyl edition of Alan Marks’ 1987 performance for Erik Satie’s ‘Vexations’ (1893) - possibly the best-known avant-classical work in existence beyond ‘4’ 33’ by John Cage, who coincidentally presented the first performance of Satie’s classic in 1963.
“The extraordinary score for Vexations is just three lines long, yet a complete performance (840 repetitions) may last for anything between 14 and 28 hours. First performed under the supervision of John Cage in 1963, this radical, enigmatic, proto-Surrealist work is now recognised as a significant milestone in the avant-garde canon.
Some credit Vexations with occult numerical meaning; others discern Satie's greatest musical prank, or a "poor man's Ring of the Nibelung". Curiously, despite the almost infinitely repetitive nature of the piece, the central 18 note motif is notoriously hard to remember. Few solo pianists have been able to negotiate a complete performance of all 840 repetitions, although in 2012 a non-stop performance lasting 35 hours was undertaken in Tokyo.
This meditative 70 minute recording features 40 repetitions of the motif, performed by Alan Marks on piano. The recording was produced by Thomas Wilbrandt. Both the CD and vinyl versions include detailed liner notes by Marks and musicologist Stephen Whittington.”