I had the chance to be able to perform the Satie opus magnum "Vexations", and this is due to one association 'Les Amis d'Alain Marinaro' that really belived in this crazy project, and had the courage to program it.
this is the promo video of the concert
It was a benefit concert for Telethon (cancer research).
It happen at the Centre des Congrès de Perpignan the 4th december of 2010 . Lasting from 7 am to 10 pm without any pause or break .
We were thinking that it will be 20 hours,but 15 is not so bad for a first time.
So to prepare it, i stopped to eat and drink 12 hours before the concert (but got a wonderful "last meal") . I also had a lot of food: dry fruits, mandarine, chocolate (many!!! and i love it), i guess some juices (not sure). But this is not the wisest choice. Only after Prague i knew what was good!
I also prepared a very special score : 840 pages , for the 840 repeats ! I still remember the printer when i asked to do it : she really belived that i was totally out of my mind !!
Also it was broadcasted on internet, a premiere for this work. It helped as we were able to gather +5000€ of fund
But i was very well surrounded. Organised by doctors, there were helping me all the time, doing massages, and also i had a machine that checked my heart pulse (in case of emergency).
So i had this "stupid fantasy": to arrive fastly to n°440 and after slowing down... only because i was scared of the n°600 !!
But even with this little detail, i must confess that it was one of the most incredible Vexations experience.
Of course i asked for a "warm place" to perform it. Since Perpignan is located in South of France, it is normally warm. The concert hall was fantastic. One of the wing of the Perpignan Centre des Congrès. A place with a lot of Windows, very sunny, just a perfect place.
But ... unfortunately 2 days before the performance, there was a snow all over France, and what was "a normal wamrth" turned out to be an ice tombstone for the pianist !
The first, and most terrible enemy of this piece, is the pianist himself and his body. As a result, even if i prepared a lot, i really had to deal with it. Muscular problems, tensions, tiredness....
But the cold does not help !
I still remember than after 4 hours i really started to have my right hand really tense, and started to perform as much as possible with the left hand. ANd after 2 more hourse, i did 50/50 : left page was left hand, and right page , the right hand. In this way i was also very able to know where i was ... Yes the very funny thing is that , even with a score, when the hours are going, you start to loose yourself , you don t even remember where you are , if you turned the page , if you are at the end ... this is really a terrible feeling !!
For the first hours everything went perfectly. I had to deal with the stupid questions of journalists that wanted me to "stop performing" to tell them how long i was performing (it was a live interview). Of course my answer was firmly a NO ! And for the funny things, i was almost praying for someone to bring me a heater !
I must also confess that many people in internet sent me support message from all over the world. That really helped me a lot.
When i passed the 400, things serious started. I started to slow down, and really get into it.
Also after such a time, you start to forget about the concert itself, the people surrounding you...
You try to relax your muscles, and slowly by slowly you even start to forget about your own body and you have this feeling that you are directly plugged to the piano... i guess it happened after 6 hours ...
After 10 hours things serious really starts ...
In every Vexations performances you allways have a "break point". A point were all your fears, sadness and despair are culminating.
At this moment you really want to stop... you are wondering why on earth you are doing it .... why not a normal concert ....
Normally this "break point" last 1 or 2 hours.... but you have the feeling that they last frever.
For my 1st performance i got the strongest reactions possible. Maybe the fruit of the surprise ?
With the hours passing, i even started to hypnotise myself, i was dreaming about the piano, the sound.
For the first time i also feel a link with the audience, a strong link !
here you can have 30 minutes of Vexations
I was also dreaming about Satie, his life and the relation with Suzanne Valadon, the only Satie relation, the reason he wrote such a piece...
And i saw them, there were also under hypnosis, moving their head like you see only in Voodoo rituals ...
The the biggest surprise was the end ... When i reached the n°800 i felt like the end was near ... and i slowed down more and more... i simply could not stop. When i reached 830 i got this terrible feeling that ... i was on a train station, and i would say farewel to someone with whom i shared so many things and will never see again ...
When i reached the 840 and performed the last notes, i was almost crying.
But i was not the only one, the audience who followed me for hours was also crying.
on this vidéo you can listen to the very end
After the concert, i talk to the audience and they told me how strongly they felt the music. One told me that he felt he was flying on top of clouds, and another one told me that he was able to talk to his dead father ... Yes it was really a strong concert !
Unfortunately, i did not take care of the vidéo , so .... i got only incomplete recording ... this is really too bad ....
After it i was extremely hungry ! I had a wonderful dinner (allways in Perpignan !!! ) with wonderful wine, and a loooong bath ! (i think i slept in my bath, it was a jacuzzi).
I still could not belive i did it !
Forthcoming one would be in Prague - april 2011 ... but i did not know that at this time ...