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The Devil's Trill

Dreamed c.1713 by Giuseppe Tartini.

...he had a dream in which he sold his soul to the Devil, and it occurred to him in his dream to hand his fiddle to the Devil to see what he could do with it.

"But how great was my astonishment when I heard him play with consummate skill a sonata of such exquisite beauty as surpassed the boldest flights of my imagination. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted; my breath was taken away, and I awoke.

Seizing my violin I tried to retain the sounds I had heard. But it was in vain.

The piece I then composed, the "Devil's Sonata", was the best I ever wrote, but how far below the one I had heard in my dream!"

from an interview with Tartini (decades later) by Jerome Lalande, in his Voyage d'un Francais en Italie, (1765; v.9 p.55); quoted in Havelock Ellis's The World of Dreams (1922).



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