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The Violin Maker: Finding A Centuries-Old Tradition In A Brooklyn Workshop (2007)

The Violin Maker: Finding a Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop (2007)
3.9 of 5 Votes: 2
0060012676 (ISBN13: 9780060012670)
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The Violin Maker: Finding A Centuries...
The Violin Maker: Finding A Centuries-Old Tradition In A Brooklyn Workshop (2007)

About book: I don't happen to be any sort of music expert. I listen to classical music when I work. I took piano lessons for 13 years and still have trouble sight-reading. I played the trumpet for almost as long and was just kind of okay. I took blues guitar lessons and promptly forgot everything I ever learned. But I love music nonetheless, and especially the violin. And, I love stories of quiet, passionate people making beautiful things. This is both a history of violin-making (Stradivari) and a chronicling of a new violin being made by one of America's foremost artisans for one of America's greatest violinists. It's fascinating, inspiring, obsessed, funny, detailed, kind...all the things a good history should be. I went the library afterward and checked out too many CDs and wasn't sorry. I pretended I could hear the nuance, the years of practice, the love and history in the instruments. Really, it just helped me pay more attention, be more aware of the great gift that music is--and the great gift it is that we have people willing to spend their lifetimes perfecting both making and playing instruments.

Having spent lots of time hanging out with my boyfriend in his attic woodworking shop, I enjoyed this reflective exploration of what it means to make a "perfect" violin from scratch. The author spends months following a Brooklyn woodworker as he fulfills a commission to make a violin for Gene Drucker of the Emerson Quartet. Always friendly and never technical, the book affectionately describes all the decisions that go into making a great violin -- selecting the perfect block of wood, aging the wood, cutting, varnishing, etc. Along the way, there's a side trip to Cremona, Italy, ancestral home of master violin maker Stradivari, and a close encounter with Bach's Chaconne (which I am now very interested in getting to know better).Ultimately the book serves as a love letter to beautiful music and to the craftsmen that pour their hearts into creating remarkable musical instruments.
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Another of my favorite genre, obsessively niche nonfiction. It tells the story of contemporary luthier (violin maker) Sam Zygmuntowicz in an industry that so venerates the old. Marchese (a musician himself -- trumpetist) paints a vibrant picture of a maker of new violins -- one of the first to make a modern violin rivalling the old Italians. The book follows Zygmuntowicz during the intensely personal and meticulous process of designing and building a violin commissioned by a noted violinist, while at the same time exploring the mystique of old violins.Bonus: Zygmuntowicz's studio is apparently just down the street from my current apartment! It's completely nondescript.
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