By Jasper Rees
within the days prior to his 40th birthday, London-based journalist Jasper Rees trades his pen for a French horn that has been collecting airborne dirt and dust 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 evokes Rees to embark on a frightening, weird and wonderful, 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 genuine tale of an not going midlife problem spent conquering 16 ft of wrapped brass tubing broadly considered as the main tough device to grasp, in addition to the main treacherous to play in public. it's the background 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 searching fields of France to the center 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 fulfillment, relayed masterfully, one side-splittingly off-key observe at a time.
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Extra info for A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument
A D E V I L TO P L AY 45 The Romanze may be slow, but it turns out that I am slower. The problem is the first bar. I can’t actually play it. The concerto is in E flat. But the horn stands in the key of F. I remember enough to know this means you have to play a tone away from the note written on the staves. But which way? A tone higher, or a tone lower? On the page the first bar is written C-F-A-A. But when you see a C, do you play a B flat, or a D? I experiment with both options. Neither really works, because by the time I’ve got to the third note of the first bar, I can’t remember if I’m playing up a tone or down.
Everyone else was straight out of central casting, even the foot followers in black Wellingtons, brown trousers, and sensible windcheaters. The ladies wore silk headscarves. The men’s cheeks were rouged by wind and wine. The scene can have changed very little since the 1680s: the red-brick inn, the naked trees, the sodden earth underfoot, loamy rural vowels in harmonious counterpoint to the clipped, peremptory consonants of the mounted well-to-do. There was only one thing that firmly carbon-dated the scene to the early 1970s: the massively flared jeans worn by my little brother and me as we stood, a glass of warm lemonade in our hands, sulking to one side in our own hermetically sealed boredom.
Or maybe it’s archery. Somewhere away from you is a round target consisting of colored concentric circles. Your job, with your bow, is to land the arrow slap dab in the middle of the bull’s-eye. This is very much easier said than done. High notes are physically more demanding to play anyway. The embouchure tightens. It becomes harder to blow air through the remaining aperture. Cheeks ache. Soon you are prey to strain, worry, stress. All of which make the high note all the more unattainable. It’s not even archery.
A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument by Jasper Rees