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SATIE, ERIK: Vexations
Not the whole of it, of course, that would take a day or so. But here are the first 40 repeats of Satie's disarming motif. Dating from 1893, this piece, its first complete performance organised by John Cage in 1963, stands as a monument to a deceptively revolutionary musical mind. The score calls for 840 repeats, but to say that is only to repeat words - it can't approach the physical experience of listening; and of course no played repeat is really a repeat. Can you listen to it? Of course, for a while, then like any repeated thing, figure repositions itself as ground, then it gets interesting. Because not mechanical, this is furniture music with personality. It is also a musical landmark and it's good news that someone has at last set it on a record.