The start time of Vexations Revisited deliberately overlaps the Competition as the overall winner will start the marathon going!
At the 2014 Festival we completed the piece 891 times! Who knows whether this will be beaten in 2016?
In 2014 we kept to Satie’s original intention of Vexations being played on the piano. After a few hours our volunteer pianists strayed from the straight and narrow and performed all sorts of variation to the delight of the audience. So the 2016 performance will involve not just the piano!! Lined up is an innovative (crazy?) series of musicians playing brass, woodwind, strings, consort of viols, crumhorns, rebecs, recorders and vocals. We are working on a rap version and we may even find some bagpipers. We have signed up Mayfield School who will present Vexations on a variety of instruments together with the Mayfield Band who will feature prominently. It is a real community event and if your appetite is whetted and you fancy a ten minute slot playing the piano version or with an instrumental group please contact email@example.com. All ideas are welcome.
Vexations was composed in the spring of 1893, when Satie was in his late-twenties. Vexations 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’. The theme itself takes around one minute to play, and is disturbingly beautiful and ultimately indescribable. It is, quite simply, the most haunting piece of piano music ever written.
As the Vexations completes at 6.00pm, the St Dunstan’s Bellringers take over, ringing their 8 beautifully tuned bells. They will go though a great number of changes over 1 ½ hours of ringing out the joy of the Festival across the village.
The bellringing spans the period between the end of Vexations and the start of the Oxford Baroque, so as they finish their ringing the festival moves straight into ‘Oh World, Goodnight’.