German-Russian pianist Igor Levit has successfully performed one of the longest compositions in history to raise awareness for the plight of musicians during the coronavirus pandemic.
The concert had been expected to take up to 20 hours and was livestreamed on Levit’s Twitter account, as well as by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine and The New Yorker. In the end, the performance lasted less than 16 hours.
The piece, Vexations, was composed in 1893 by Erik Satie and is played 840 times in a row. Levit told the New Yorker that for him, Vexations represented “a silent scream”.
“I honestly don’t really know what is going to happen. But I believe I will feel, while doing it, kind of similar to what I go through now. There will be ups, there will be downs, there will be devastation, there will [be] joy, there will be literal pain,” he told the magazine.
Completing the performance in the early hours of Sunday morning local time, Levit said he was “Done. Happy. Fulfilled. Grateful. And so damn high.”
You can watch the whole performance here, if you have 15 hours and 34 minutes.