The story behind the “Devil’s Trill Sonata” starts with a dream.

Posted by on 29/12/2015 12:48 in Blog | Comments Off on The story behind the “Devil’s Trill Sonata” starts with a dream.

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The story behind the “Devil’s Trill Sonata” starts with a dream. Tartini dreamed that the Devil appeared to him and asked to be his servant. 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 (circa 1765)
“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.”

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