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    Erik Satie’s vexations - an exercise in immobility

    Dawson, Christopher (2001) Erik Satie’s vexations - an exercise in immobility. Canadian University Music Review, 21 (2). pp. 29-40. ISSN 1911-0146

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    Abstract

    Erik Satie's piano piece Vexations contains a Note de l’auteur in which the composer apparently instructs his interpreters to repeat the piece 840 times. Opinion among Satie's biographers is divided as to whether Satie intended a "full" performance of the piece. In this article I assess how a literary interpretation of the Note can throw light on Satie's intentions. My conclusion is that Vexations is not so much a performance piece as an exercise piece: a musical passage designed to pull his interpreters away from conventional Western notions of linear development and cumulative reception and towards his own non-developmental style of music, in preparation for a performance of a piece such as a Gymnopédie or a Gnossienne.

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