This notorious piece has hardly ever been recorded or performed, save for a few brave attempts by the likes of John Cage and friends. The piece comprises a short chordal passage that is exquisitely difficult to memorise, the various sections being similar enough to each other to cause confusion. Although the passage is short, Satie's score instructions are for the motif to be played '840 times consecutively to oneself, it will be useful to prepare oneself beforehand, and in utter silence, by grave immobilities.'

Why 840 times is anyone's guess, but the difficulty of the piece means that great concentration has to be used to get even a few repetitions correct. Visitors to this site are no doubt delighted to learn that the full 840 iterations are not attempted here - I manage about eight or nine, played on different pianos each at different positions and distances from the listener.

Vexations [6:07] 11.4Mb