Music May 13, 2010 at 4:00 am

A Free Erik Satie Marathon!


Well written, lovely article!

I just submit that this "revolutionary ambient music" must be not only be a revolution of "surroundings" but "involvings" - that of a higher-consciousness listening experience.

It is almost like ambient music unknowingly traces the ring; but there is a much more courageous music that dares to remain deep inside the circle (Spectral Minimalism).

I wish Cale was going to be at Seattle's Vexations...
SHOULD the pianists "differ"? I think the goal (however unobtainable) should be for them all to play it as much the same as possible, as if it really were one person playing it 840 times.
@Michael, yes it would be my hope that the "surroundings" do lead to "involvings."

@Nat I had forgotten about John Cale on "I've got a Secret" as a performer of "Vexations" - a great link!

@point of order: You've hit upon one of the underpinnings of the piece. As it is impossible for one pianist (or many) to heed Satie's direction, variations are inevitable - and, if Satie is heeded, built into the piece.

Played exactly the same, say by a Yamaha Disklavier, I suspect the effect would be the same, but without the human variables that make live music so compelling.
I agree. I wasn't sure from your wording if you meant they would/should be differing *on purpose* as opposed to inevitably.
This was such a great event. Thanks for your wonderful piece, Christopher.

Ranjit Bhatnagar, an artist in Brooklyn, had a robot toy piano perform a sympathetic Vexations at the same time as Jack Straw's. You can view the archived video stream (or as much of it as you can handle) at
@7 Thank you for the link! Now that the event is over offers a more direct link.
Time-lapse video I did of the Seattle performance at Jack Straw.

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