Saturday, December 27, 2008
he lived in fear that the state of illumination with which he was blest - or with which he was afflicted - might be untimely withdrawn
one night i dreamt that i had made a pact with the devil: he was my servant, and anticipated my every wish... i found myself handing him my violin to see if he might manage some pretty tunes; but imagine my astonishment when i heard a sonata so unusual and so beautiful, performed with such mastery and intelligence, on a level i had never before conceived was possible! i was so overcome that i stopped breathing and awoke gasping. immediately i seized my violin, hoping to recall some shred of what i had just heard - but in vain. the piece i then composed is without a doubt my best, and i still call it the devil's sonata, but it falls so far short of the one that stunned me that i would have smashed my violin and given up music forever if i could but posses it.
tartini to j.j. de lalande,
voyage d'un françois en italie (1765-66)
(found in giuseppe tartini - the devil's sonata - played by andrew manze)
((title from thomas mann - doctor faustus - 1947))