The Devils Final Challenge: A Sequel to Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat
Performed by Zodiac Trio
Part One: Introduction:
The devil is very old and is now retired and living in Queens NYC and spends his most of his days walking the streets playing tricks on dogs and children. One-day sees a poster about an international music competition in which final round will be televised internationally. Not being able to resist the allure of international fame and adoration he decides to accept the challenge.
Part Two: The Rehearsal-Interlude
Upon returning home the devil goes up to his attic searching for his old violin. It has been years since he has played it and the strings have become rusty and badly out of tune. His fingers are also very stiff and he struggles with the bow and the intonation. Gradually he begins to loosen up and with constant practice is able to get his playing to the level he used to play at. Never one to follow rules, he composes an enchanted melody that will bewitch the listener thus insuring he wins the competition. By the end of the rehearsal he is playing like a real virtuoso and ready to play in the challenge. Because he is old, his powers are not as strong as they were and enchanted melody curse only lasts for a twenty-four hour period.
Part Three: The Challenge:
The devil makes it to the final round of the competition, which is now down to two contestants, a Klezmer clarinetist from Brooklyn and himself. The clarinetist plays first beginning his solo slowly leading into the Klezmer tune Der Heyser Bulgar (Hot Bulgar) The devil rudely interrupts him a couple of times but he is not distracted by the devil and gradually reaches a fever pitch of virtuosity. The devil joins in and they two of them are in a musical duel. Then to ensure his victory the devil begins to play the enchanted melody but the clarinetist interrupts him and the two continue the dual. The devil got so distracted that he lost track of time that he didn’t realize he reached the twenty-four hour timeline for the spell his playing begins to fall apart. It gradually gets worse and worse and as his intonation and technique fails him the clarinetist seizes the opportunity and starts to play over the devil thus confusing his even more. Gradually the devil’s playing comes to a grinding halt as the clarinetist continues to surpass him and wins the competition. Frustrated and defeated the devil storms off the stage and slips away back to Queens.