Vexations in Mayfield!

Mayfield Convent Chapel, Sunday 1 – Monday 2 May 2016 

Our  concert for the Mayfield Festival was possibly the oddest gig we have been asked to do (although whether it was as odd as playing the theme for “Upstairs Downstairs” on crumhorns for Radio 4 is debatable): to celebrate the centenary of the death of the eccentric French composer Erik Satie, the festival staged a marathon 24 hour performance of his mesmeriErik-Satiesing atonal work entitled Vexations; instead of using the usual piano, they engaged a variety of ensembles to play it, including a brass band, a rap artist and a jazz singer. Faronel provided a medieval and renaissance dimension to the proceedings, although finding instruments that could play all 12 semitones reliably was quite vexatious! Apart from that, though, it was pretty familiar territory: no tempo markings, no dynamics, no performance instructions – just like medieval music!

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