By Jasper Rees

ISBN-10: 0061626619

ISBN-13: 9780061626616

ISBN-10: 0061725064

ISBN-13: 9780061725067

within the days earlier than his 40th birthday, London-based journalist Jasper Rees trades his pen for a French horn that has been amassing airborne dirt and dust 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 event evokes Rees to embark on a frightening, strange, and finally successful trip: to come to the competition in a single year's time and play a Mozart concerto—solo—to a wide paying viewers.

A satan to Play is the genuine tale of an not going midlife challenge spent conquering 16 ft of wrapped brass tubing commonly considered as the main tough device to grasp, in addition to the main treacherous to play in public. it's the historical past 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 searching fields of France to the center of Hollywood. And it's the account of 1 man's mounting musical obsession, informed with pitch-perfect wit and an indisputable charm—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

Example text

Unlike the lyre, the dulcimer, or the lute—at home we also had one of those—it wasn’t allowed to bring its muddy boots through the front door. There was no music written for it. It just had to sound loud. On Saturdays in winter we had firsthand evidence of this. My parents were members of that section of the population that likes to chase small quadrupeds while seated on the back of a large one. In due course my older brother became a willing recruit. He donned the jodhpurs, the tweed jacket, the domed peaked hat, and perched pertly on the back of some sedated pony.

All music, all musical instruments. Picture a small, hunched, mostly unclad hunter-gatherer going about his business one afternoon in about 9000 bc. It is the early Stone Age. In the land now known as Iraq, the first attempt at sheep husbandry is being mastered. Neolithic Man is heading back to the cave. A wooden-hafted ax dangles from one fist, a fresh kill from another. On the ground he spots it: a ram’s horn. A 26 JASPER REES skull lies nearby. He has seen this a hundred times, but today he notices that the horn is broken at the tip.

I am acutely conscious that it’s important to play this one for laughs, just to ensure they know for sure that I don’t actually think I’m good. Lower expectations, that’s the ticket. So at the end of the first phrase, which provokes an undiscerning round of applause, I use my eight-bar rest to abandon my post, pace over to the long table in front of me, pick up a glass of red wine, and take a calming draught. As intended, it raises a laugh. This is not one for the purists. After that, it’s plain sailing.

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A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument by Jasper Rees

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