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Devil’s Trill Sonata

This is the first (and probably the last) time I post a song on this blog.
But this is an exception, mostly about the story behind this masterpiece.

The story behind “Devil’s Trill” starts with a dream. Tartini allegedly told the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that he dreamed that The Devil appeared to him and asked to be his servant. At the end of their lessons Tartini handed the devil his violin to test his skill—the devil immediately began to play with such virtuosity that Tartini felt his breath taken away. The complete story is told by Tartini himself in Lalande’s Voyage d’un François en Italie (1765 – 66):
“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.”

I do not care if the story is true, or if god and devil exists, this isn’t my concern at this moment of my life. What I am convinced and what I really care about, is that Tartini himself saw a dream of what he thought as “so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy”.

Then he woke up and tried his best to compose the same “so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence” sonata. I am convinced that at that exact moment, Tartini exceeded his limits. He tried to go one step further. And he did it. He did it believing that someone else was better than him, when actually it was himself.

Some years ago, I remember I was watching a movie, unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the movie, neither the plot, but I do remember a quote when someone said something like this: “When I want to do something smart, I’m thinking of what a smarter one than me would do”.

the movie Heist and I saw this quote:

D.A. Freccia: You’re a pretty smart fella.
Joe Moore: Ah, not that smart.
D.A. Freccia: [If] you’re not that smart, how’d you figure it out?
Joe Moore: I tried to imagine a fella smarter than myself. Then I tried to think, “what would he do?”

Thanks to my friend Eleni who found out the movie’s name! Listen to her great songs here.

Do you see the pattern here?

Always try hard.
Always try to exceed your limits.
You are better than you even imagine.

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