Vexations, by Erik Satie


The longest piano piece of any kind is Vexations by Erik Satie which consists of a 180-note composition which, on the composer’s orders, must be repeated 840 times so that the whole performance lasts 18 hours 40 minutes. Its first reported public performance in September, 1963, in the Pocket Theatre, New York City, required a relay of ten pianists. The New York Times critic fell asleep at 4 a.m. and the audience dwindled to six masochists. At the conclusion a sado-masochist shouted “Encore.”

- Guinness Book of World Records, 1974 Ed.

Sorry, Erik Satie, the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign has long since shattered your record. It’s been going on now for at least two years, there are far fewer than 180 notes, and the same notes have been played far more than 840 times.

And no one will need to shout (or mumble) “Encore” because, like it or not, before the dust can settle on the ballot boxes the encore for the 2016 presidential campaign will be under way. And that encore will start in what? Just 50 or so more days…

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