Music: Horning In

As a boy in early 19th century Belgium, Adolphe Sax was struck on the head by a brick. The accident-prone lad also swallowed a needle, fell down a flight of stairs, toppled onto a burning stove, and accidentally drank some sulfuric acid. When he grew up, he invented the saxophone.

Only a child that familiar with adversity, contend critics of the saxophone, could have foisted such a contraption on an unsuspecting world. A hybrid of the brass and woodwind families, the instrument is the perennial Cinderella of serious music. Its rich, sometimes dozing sound...

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