The Road to The Devil’s Thrill

There is no macabre story or fantasy tale to talk about. I simply want to share how I came about learning the classical music violin piece Devil’s Thrill by Giuseppe Tartini. Yes, likely boring again. Perhaps you unconsciously rolled your eyes upon reading the word classical music, however, if you wish to kill time, then indulge me and read on.

In one of the many wee-hour work sessions I have, today I let the TV on for supposed background noise only which turned to distracting entertainment (but I did have some work done). It was already tuned in to cable with a localized Fox channel playing.

Note to self; never have TV on when working seriously and never have it tuned to Fox channel. It’s akin to playing a seemingly un-ending game of Bubble Shooter. You’re oddly hypnotized to continue with it forever.

I enjoyed a lot of laughs for the everlasting The Simpsons, the raunchy bunch in  The Family Guy, The Last Man Standing which is also another family-life type of live sitcom but with more tamed and a few political jokes and another I-forgot-the-title-of-the-show which was about user video compilations of accidents that we (yes I’m generalizing so I would not look so bad on my own) still find to be amusing for some weird inhumane reason of laughing at someone else’s pain. (But I partly suspect and blame it in the evil bone or gene from our ancestors. Think centuries into the past, like Cain vs Abel past. Although for the atheist / agnostic then you may go with the gene theory if you like.) After that video compilation was the TV series Sleepy Hollow.

Sleepy Hollow was about this town with their story of the headless horseman. It is a good bed time story (normally to scare the children to sleep early or obedience… be good or the headless horseman will take you away!) and was turned into a movie and now a TV series. I like bedtime stories but I really know nothing about the TV Series and come to think about the movie also so I decided to….want to take a guess?

Okay may be not. But I had to ask. When stories get lengthy you have to regain the attention of the audience by engaging them to interact, hence the need to break the monotony of the rambling and asking a question. If it was a verbal rambling, a snap of the finger will do the work but that is not the case here.

Now whether you tried to guess or not I will not pursue an answer and shall instead resume the rambling again…I Googled for what I don’t know like the 21st century human with knowledge to seek that I am.

I Googled the word “Sleepy Hollow plot”. I should have written the word TV series to make it more specific but I didn’t, so I ended up seeing on the top parts of the first page of the search, the plot of the Sleepy Hollow movie by director Tim Burton and starred by Johnny Depp. It is something I have not seen (but I have an inkling I did see a few bits and pieces of it perhaps from a cinema trailer or a TV movie re-run I only chanced in between or when it was at its last 10 minutes. Or perhaps a mixture of what I know already from reading or other forms of interpretation about the story itself. I’m not very certain.).

So I read the Wikipedia article (yes, after Googling you will likely read Wikipedia. I’m willing to bet like 80% of the time it will happen) and after some minutes knew what to fully expect of the movie. But a line caught my eye.

The Horseman, no longer under Lady Van Tassel’s control, hoists her up on his horse, then rides to Hell taking her with him, fulfilling her end of the deal with the Devil.

The word “deal with the Devil” is in blue! And you know how it works with human curiosity and the enticing word in blue which promises another unknown knowledge to read and ponder. And it even has the world Devil which only fuels the interest with its added theme of the unseen and the occult. So of course, I clicked the words in blue!

The search for the Sleepy Hollow TV series plot by this moment was already long forgotten.

Clicking the blue words deal with the Devil  lead to another Wikipedia article which included in it a list of artists rumored to have made the deal with the Devil or at least in the case of Giuseppe Tartini inspired by dreaming about doing such sacrilegious act.

Under the content “Alleged diabolical pacts in history” there was

Violin is one of the instruments I admire (given it looks to me to be such a complex piece of instrument to master.) So I clicked once more on two more links “Niccolo Paganini and Devil’s Thrill Sonata”

The first link didn’t hold my attention but the last one did.

The reason for this wordy post is simply for me to build a climax for that which I wish to share. The story by Tartini himself in Lalande’s Voyage d’un François en Italie which I have taken from Wikipedia’s Devil’s Thrill Sonata article

“One night, in the year 1713 I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted: my breath failed me, and – I awoke. I immediately grasped my violin in order to retain, in part at least, the impression of my dream. In vain! The music which I at this time composed is indeed the best that I ever wrote, and I still call it the “Devil’s Trill”, but the difference between it and that which so moved me is so great that I would have destroyed my instrument and have said farewell to music forever if it had been possible for me to live without the enjoyment it affords me.”

Nicely phrased isn’t it? Perhaps I will add it to my mental collection of poetry some of these days. Now, as this post nears its end let me leave you with one more artistry to soothe your senses. The music of  Devil’s Thrill Sonata. Until the next boring article. Au revoir Mon’Ami!

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