The Violin Maker: A Search for the Secrets of Craftsmanship, Sound, and Stradivari (Paperback)

The Violin Maker: A Search for the Secrets of Craftsmanship, Sound, and Stradivari By John Marchese Cover Image

The Violin Maker: A Search for the Secrets of Craftsmanship, Sound, and Stradivari (Paperback)

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“[A] magical, profound, and elegant look at the continued need for high quality in our throw away society.” —Douglas Brinkley, Historian

This intensely human story, which moves from an ageless workshop in Brooklyn to the rehearsal rooms of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and across the globe to Cremona, the birthplace of Stradivari, opens up for the reader the insular and fascinating realm of music, musicians, and the craftsmanship that is essential to that world.

How does a simple piece of wood become the king of instruments?

On a quest to learn about what many consider the world’s most perfect instrument, author and musician John Marchese befriends Sam Zygmuntowicz, an old-world craftsman in Brooklyn, New York, along with the man who is waiting for Sam’s next violin, Eugene Drucker of the world famous Emerson String Quartet.

The violin does something remarkable, magical, and evocative. It is capable of bringing to life the mathematical marvels of Bach, the moan of a Gypsy melody, the wounded dignity of Beethoven's Concerto in D Major. No other instrument is steeped in such a rich brew of myth and lore—and yet the making of a violin starts with a simple block of wood. The Violin Maker takes the reader on a journey as that block of wood, in the hands of a master craftsman, becomes an instrument to rival one made by the greatest master of all time.

A musician and award-winning journalist, John Marchese is the author of Renovations: A Father and Son Rebuild a House and Rediscover Each Other. He lives in New York City and in New York's Catskill Mountain region.

Product Details ISBN: 9780060012687
ISBN-10: 0060012684
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: April 1st, 2008
Pages: 256
Language: English

“An impassioned account...shows what magic is secretly being practiced behind many nondescript doors.” — New York Times

“Marchese is engaging and funny and he uses his substantial skill to tell a story worthy of his subjects.” — Newsweek

“A deeply descriptiveand appreciative look at a slow, exacting craft. Marchese is a skilled writer.” — USA Today

“Strikes a high note, with rich overtones on the themes of art, creation, and the power of music. — Entertainment Weekly

“A beguiling journalistic meditation on the links—and tensions—between art, craft and connoisseurship.” — Publishers Weekly

“You don’t have to be a fiddler to enjoy this small gem of a book. A fine, informative read.” — Santa Fe New Mexican

“Well researched...an appreciation for the ability and dedication of a man working with his hands.” — Hartford Courant

“An edifying adventure from hewn log to work of art. On pitch reporting documents an inspiring craft.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Honest, witty and dramatic. A thoroughly gripping read.” — The Strad

“Informative. Insights (into) why classical music’s most analyzed instrument retains so many mysteries. — San Diego Union-Tribune

“Entertaining...(Marchese) shows a talent for engaging turns of phrase, and his accessible style and dry humor commingle well.” — Library Journal

“Like The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, THE VIOLIN MAKER is easy, entertaining, and uniquely informative reading. — Booklist

“A magical, profound and elegant look at the continued need for high quality in our throw away society.” — Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Tulane University and author of THE GREAT DELUGE

“Engaging…[In] the tradition of John McPhee and Tracy Kidder, John Marchese wittily deconstructs the capacious lore of violin-making.” — Ben Yagoda, author of About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made and When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better and/or Worse