Dordt College News

Dordt students perform five hour "Vexations" concert

April 22, 2011

A group of pianists from Dordt College will perform "Vexations" by Erik Satie, a five hour performance of a single piece of piano music, on Tuesday, April 26, from 7 p.m. to midnight in the B.J. Haan Auditorium.

"Vexations" is an oddity of music history. Written in 1893, it was never performed or published by the composer and its meaning and intentions have been puzzling to music historians. The single page of dissonant music includes the instruction to repeat the theme 840 times. Some suggest the work is a reaction to Satie's contemporaries, or as music intended for private meditation, or simply as a parody of musical conventions. In the mid-20th century, John Cage and a team of musicians performed "Vexations" in an 18-hour concert in New York. Satie's work influenced composers like John Cage, who seek to push the boundaries of performance and musical theory.

The Dordt premiere of "Vexations" was organized by Jonathan Posthuma as a project for a music history class and will be performed by a slate of pianists including Brian De Young, Corinne Campbell, Bjorn Vaagensmith, Andrew Roskamp, Anna Slegers, Charis Hornor, and Jonathan Posthuma.

The audience is invited to attend the performance for any amount of time, coming and going as they please throughout the evening. Preceding the performance at 7 p.m. will be a short presentation.

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