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Satie: Vexation and Frescobali: Passiacaglia

October 30, 2005

The ideas behind Satie’s Vexations might not be as new as we tend to believe. I’m currently reading A History of Musical Style by R.L. Crocker. At page 246 he is discussing Cento partite sopra passacagli (a hundred variations on passacaglias) composed in the 1630s:

Actually there seem to be more than one hundred variations but it is easy to lose count a fact that takes us to the very heart of the work. If played complete it is exceedingly long as passacaglias and ciaconas tend to be from this time on. The intention clearly is to go on so long that time seems to stop hang suspended in the magic mood created by the excotic rythms.