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 competition of the British Horn Society.
regardless of an embarrassingly bad functionality, the adventure conjures up Rees to embark on a frightening, weird and wonderful, and finally profitable trip: to come back 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 genuine tale of an not going midlife situation spent conquering 16 toes of wrapped brass tubing broadly considered as the main tough software to grasp, in addition to the main treacherous to play in public. it's the background of man's first musical device, a compelling trip that strikes from the partitions of Jericho to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts membership Band , from the searching fields of France to the guts of Hollywood. And it's the account of 1 man's mounting musical obsession, instructed with pitch-perfect wit and an indisputable charmвЂ”an endearing, inspiring story of perseverance and success, relayed masterfully, one side-splittingly off-key observe 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
But why would anyone want to bury twentytwo of them? And not just for twenty-two years. I return from the British Horn Society festival inflamed with enthusiasm. I have articulated, if only to myself, the pipe dream of going back in twelve months’ time and playing a solo. For the moment, I keep my lofty ambition to myself. I don’t tell the New Person In My Life. I don’t tell Dave. The chances are that it will never happen. I’ll never get up to snuff, or I’ll lack the nerve to go cap in hand to the society, or I will dredge up the courage but they will snot themselves laughing at the thought of a rank amateur sharing the stage with seasoned professionals.
It was played by a cornicen. Several of them are depicted on Trajan’s column. One has rippling biceps and forearms. Their instruments, brandished casually over their shoulders, look like weapons. One historian suggests that Trajan’s horn players look tired, and posits an explanation that in the absence of marching drums in the Roman army, the cornicines may have had to blow to keep long columns moving in time. 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.
A D E V I L TO P L AY 53 As I get further acquainted with the Romanze, it takes shape in front of me as a conversation between two lovers. The horn says something, then the orchestra—or if you can’t get hold of an orchestra, the piano—replies. It is ardent but at the same time elegant and terribly polite. There are some technical issues. After the opening eight-bar phrase the horn comes back in on a yearning high F and tumbles lyrically down through a phrase. And then does it again. Each time the horn returns, there’s a new high note to hit upon reentry.
A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument by Jasper Rees