Vexations was written in 1893 by French composer/pianist Erik Satie (1866 – 1925). It is considered the longest piece of music (certified by the Guinness Book of World Records), but only contains ½ page of sheet music, or 180-notes. On Satie’s guidelines, the work’s theme was to be performed 840 times.
The piece was produced by American composer John Cage. (1912 – 1992), and made its first known début in 1963, with Cage playing in 20-minute intervals among eleven other pianists. The group, known as “The Pocket Theatre Piano Relay Team,” included John Cale of The Velvet Underground. It took them 18 hours and 40 minutes to complete, after which Cage slept for many, many hours. He is known to have said of the piece’s transformative effect on him, a notion echoed by some of the other performers on that day: