In the days before his fortieth birthday, London-based journalist Jasper Rees traded his pen for a French horn that had been gathering dust in the attic for more than twenty-two years and, on a lark, played it at the annual festival of the British Horn Society. Despite an embarrassingly poor performance, the experience inspired Rees to embark on a daunting, bizarre, and ultimately winning journey: to return to the festival in one year's time and play a Mozart concerto—solo—to a large paying audience.
A Devil to Play is the true story of an unlikely midlife crisis spent conquering eighteen feet of wrapped brass tubing widely regarded as the most difficult instrument in the world to master—an endearing, inspiring tale of perseverance and achievement, relayed masterfully, one side-splittingly off-key note at a time.
A charming and deeply funny memoir of musical obsession, A Devil to Play is the story of Jasper Rees, a man who unearths his childhood French horn, and begins a quixotic but obsessively serious challenge: to play a Mozart concerto—alone—for a paying audience within one year’s time. It’s an endearing, inspiring tale of perseverance and achievement, relayed masterfully, one side-splittingly off-key note at a time.