After almost 16 hours, the pianist Igor Levit completed his piano marathon today and ended the work “Vexations” (roughly: tortures) by the French composer Eric Satie with its 840 repetitions.
In the early morning, after the last note on the grand piano, Levit collapsed briefly in a Berlin studio, got up and retired. Shortly afterwards, he wrote on Twitter: “Done. Done. Happy. Grateful. And something of high. ”With the performance, the 33-year-old wanted to draw attention to the plight of the artists in view of the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Levit had the sheet music stacked next to him on the grand piano with each repetition during the performance, and after a repetition he dropped each sheet on the floor. The concert was streamed across multiple channels.
One of the longest works
The work composed at the end of the 19th century is considered one of the longest in music history. In its monotony and limit value, it fits well with the current situation of the artists and looks like “a silent scream,” it said. The current situation was “brutal – physical, mental, emotional.” The stage was vital for musicians, Levit had said before the concert.
Satie (1866-1925) composed the work at the end of the 19th century. A clear melody is not immediately recognizable in the atonal work, the French composer has given the tempo “very slow” and prescribed 840 repetitions. The piece consists of three staves that vary a musical theme.