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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Historical
  • Language:English
  • Pages:140
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781483585062


by J. E. Grigsby

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Vexations blends historical fiction with a healthy dose of magical realism, as it illuminates the evolution of Erik Satie’s enigmatic musical composition, Vexations; from its creation at the close of Satie’s 1893 love affair with artist Suzanne Valadon in Paris, to its 1963 premiere by John Cage in New York City.

Montmartre in the 1890s is a well-known haven for artists and bohemians. Here at the crest of the hill, inside a tiny apartment at No. 6 Rue Cortot, lives Erik Satie. He is known only as a poor, eccentric musician of the shadow theatre at Le Chat Noir. But Claude Debussy declares, “My friend Erik is a composer.”

Suzanne Valadon lives two doors down at No. 2 Rue Cortot. She is known as a model and mistress to the finest living painters, even the great Renoir. But Toulouse-Lautrec insists, “My friend Suzanne is an artist.”

Erik Satie’s love for Suzanne Valadon will call into question his own notions of art and success, truth and desire, causing a condition he refers to as…Vexations.

Walk with Erik and Suzanne along the streets of Paris in La Belle Époque. Travel in time with Satie, the Great Precursor; back a century to Karlsbad to conduct J.S. Bach’s court ensemble, forward a half-century to New York City to advise John Cage about Furniture Music. Discover an extraordinary story of restless spirits and timeless music, referred to as…Vexations.

About the author

J.E. Grigsby founded Rotary Totem in 1984 as a production company for his creative projects, which explore the nexus between music and literature. These include albums with the musical ensembles NIMBY, Motor Totemist Guild, and U Totem.

As Glenn Astarita noted in All About Jazz, “Grigsby’s music while demanding and complex is also liable to become light-hearted or whimsical...Grigsby’s shrewd and at times roguish compositional style is strikingly impressive; hence, his somewhat legendary status in the so-called progressive music industry."

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