By Jasper Rees
within the days sooner than his 40th birthday, London-based journalist Jasper Rees trades his pen for a French horn that has been accumulating dirt within the attic for greater than twenty-two years, and, on a lark, performs it on the annual pageant of the British Horn Society.
regardless of an embarrassingly bad functionality, the adventure conjures up Rees to embark on a frightening, strange, and finally profitable trip: to come to the pageant in a single year's time and play a Mozart concertoвЂ”soloвЂ”to a wide paying viewers.
A satan to Play is the real tale of an not going midlife problem spent conquering 16 ft of wrapped brass tubing greatly considered as the main tough software to grasp, in addition to the main treacherous to play in public. it's the historical past of man's first musical software, a compelling trip that strikes from the partitions of Jericho to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts membership Band , from the looking fields of France to the center of Hollywood. And it's the account of 1 man's mounting musical obsession, advised with pitch-perfect wit and an indisputable charmвЂ”an endearing, inspiring story of perseverance and success, relayed masterfully, one side-splittingly off-key be aware at a time.
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Additional resources for A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument
This is not one for the purists. After that, it’s plain sailing. The actual music borders on the toe-curling. In one phrase, which soars up to a yearning E flat, then rolls slowly down the other side, I go dramatically awry and feel obliged to apologize. It gets another laugh. This is the softest audience I’m ever going to encounter. It’s possible to enjoy yourself too much. Counting was never one of my fortes. I’m standing there thinking how well it’s all going when I lose track somewhere toward the back end of a fourbar rest.
Eventually the instrument was domesticated and put to civic service. At funerals it was de rigueur to have a horn wailing mournfully over an important corpse. It took center stage at the games. In all those Roman epics—Ben-Hur, Spartacus, Gladiator—whenever the emperor or praetor or gubernator has to make his haughty address to the plebs, it’s the cornu that announces his ceremonial entrance. Five civilian specimens, once played at gladiatorial games but buried in the lava at Pompeii after Vesuvius erupted in ad 79, are displayed in the Museo Nazionale in Naples.
Professional horn players crack jokes about cracking notes. The horn, they all know, is fundamentally high-risk. They are a hundred times likelier than a flautist to play a wrong note in a concert. ” Other pros I meet refer to something called “security in the upper register,” as if a formal Latin euphemism will somehow rationalize or even reduce the jeopardy. Next comes a passage of quaking semi-quavers. Semi-quavers are fiddly, and there are thirty-two of them sardined into four overcrowded bars.
A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument by Jasper Rees