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 collecting 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 negative functionality, the event evokes Rees to embark on a frightening, strange, and finally successful trip: to come back to the competition 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 likely midlife concern spent conquering 16 ft of wrapped brass tubing commonly considered as the main tough tool to grasp, in addition to the main treacherous to play in public. it's the heritage of man's first musical tool, 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 guts of Hollywood. And it's the account of 1 man's mounting musical obsession, informed with pitch-perfect wit and an indisputable charmвЂ”an endearing, inspiring story of perseverance and fulfillment, relayed masterfully, one side-splittingly off-key be aware at a time.
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Extra resources for A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument
B. Dupont from the same period, when some manufacturers went down a blind alley or two. It looks like a plate of spaghetti sculpted in brass. Alongside all this gleaming metal, at the far right of the front row, is a curling, twisting tube of hollow bone, perhaps two feet in length. “Trompe en corne de bélier,” it’s labeled. Yemen, eighteenth century. It’s a ram’s horn. It looks, to say the least, decontextualized. Unlike its neighbors—its teammates—it doesn’t look as if it’s been made. It was with something very akin to this, nonetheless, that it all started.
Eventually, after unnumbered attempts, a wobbly middle C began to take shape, like a creature emerging from the primeval swamp. It was a thing of mud and fog, a blur, a smudge of sound, with no clear definition, no discernible outline. Still, it was a middle C. My first. “Good. Right. ” More mud, more fog, but of a subtly different quality to the middle C. It was, my horn teacher revealed, a D. ” I started to experiment. I’d play a C, then a D. A D, then a C, followed by a C and then a D. And so on.
In one lesson. Had there ever been a more promising beginner? “Good. ” No problem. ” “First and second. ” A D E V I L TO P L AY 35 “First and . . you mean you press two at once? ” I squeezed and squished my lips together. A thin, reedy, parsimonious emission emerged, a mere whiff of sound, but toxic in the extreme. Coming from another orifice, this critter would have stunk the house out. “Good,” said my first horn teacher. ” “To practice. ” “Just ten minutes a day. ” He produced a book with a picture of a French horn on the cover.