On November 9, at 8 a.m., the pianist Arko Narits will begin a ten-hour piano concert in the public area of the Tallinn Airport terminal, the remarkable piece “Vexations” by Erik Satie.
With this solo recital, the pianist Arko Narits, known from the popular TV show “Classical Stars”, intends to do something that was deemed impossible for 70 years – solo the piece “Vexations” composed by Erik Satie where the same theme is played 840 times. The concert begins at 8 a.m. in the morning and ends presumably about 6 p.m.
The concert is a unique phenomenon in the musical scene of Estonia – the piece has been performed before only in an ensemble or by shifts, but never before as a solo recital. The Communication Manager of the airport, Margot Holts, is eager about the concert: “Actually, Arko Narits is well known to the airport community. Previously he has worked in the airport’s security control and we all cheered for him during his participation in the show “Classical Stars”. Now he is already studying to be a pilot. Arko’s plan to perform a ten-hour piano concert is very characteristic to him. We keep our fingers crossed that everything goes as planned.”
Erik Satie (1866–1925) was am extravagant French composer and pianist. The work “Vexations” to be performed at the concert was completed in 1894. The enigmatic one-page piece bears the inscription: “In order to play the theme 840 times in succession, it would be advisable to prepare oneself beforehand, and in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities” (Pour se jouer 840 fois de suite ce motif, il sera bon de se préparer au préalable, et dans le plus grand silence, par des immobilités sérieuses). The number of repetitions seems so extreme, that today people tend to think that this could have been a spelling mistake or the work is not even intended for public performance.
When in 1963, the “Vexations” was performed for the first time in a concert format, there were altogether eleven pianists playing in shifts and the concert lasted nearly 18 hours. The work is mostly performed in shifts; solo performance is more rare and audacious. Such an initiative tests the pianist to the limit – the challenge is complicated for both, the body as well as the spirit – the music never stops during these ten hours.
The concert in the public area of the Tallinn Airport begins already at 8 a.m. in the morning and the planned duration is approximately ten hours! Of course, the work may also be significantly shorter or longer, depending on the performer. The mammoth-concert is free for the audience and people may come and go whenever they please.