Friday 29 May 2020

A silent scream: Igor Levit to perform Eric Satie's 'Vexations' in support of performing artists world-wide

Igor Levit (Photo Markus C. Hurek)
Igor Levit (Photo Markus C. Hurek)
The pianist Igor Levit has been giving regular performances from home on-line since lockdown, now he will be taking things a little further an on Saturday 30 May 2020 will be performing Eric Satie's Vexations, a 20-hour piece which consists of 840 repetitions of a theme and variations.

Levit is giving the performance to raise awareness of the plight of artists world-wide, with the shutdown of theatres, concert-halls and cinemas, and few guidelines as to when these might be operable in the future. So for countless performing artists, the present crisis is an existential one.

Levit has evidently long wanted to perform Vexations, commenting that "The 840 repetitions herald early on a future of aesthetic repetitiveness.  The sheer duration of over 20 hours of ‘Vexations’ doesn't feel like a ‘nuisance’ to me, as the title would suggest, but rather a retreat into silence and humility. It reflects a feeling of resistance.  That's why it feels right to play the ‘Vexations’ right now. My world and that of my colleagues has been a different one for many weeks now and will probably remain so for a long time. ‘Vexations’ represents for me a silent scream".

Levit's performance is supported by the Gilmore Foundation, and Vexations will be streamed by the Gilmore Foundation, The New Yorker, and Der Spiegel, as well as on Igor Levit's Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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