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The Violin Maker: Finding a Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 27, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Celebrated Brooklyn violin-maker Sam Zygmuntowicz recently accepted a challenging commission from violinist Eugene Drucker of the Emerson String Quartet: to make a new violin that would equal Drucker's beloved Stradivarius. Marchese (Renovations: A Father and Son Rebuild a House) documents their collaboration. He follows Zygmuntowicz through the exacting, scrape-by-scrape process of trying to transform a block of wood into an exquisitely wrought vibrating box that somehow captures the inexpressible sonic essence the finicky Drucker longs to hear. Along the way, Marchese goes on a pilgrimage to Stradivarius's hometown of Cremona and delves into the secrets behind the maestro's incomparable sound. Was it the wood? The varnish? The nap-time transmigration of his spirit into the violin under construction? Zygmuntowicz's example, Marchese finds, suggests a more prosaic, if no less marvelous, possibility—that the genius of craftsmanship resides not in magic ingredients or arcane techniques, but simply in taking infinite, exhausting pains with the work, in "caring more and more about less and less." He also broaches a more inflammatory corollary: that modern violins actually sound just as good as Strads. The result is a beguiling journalistic meditation on the links—and tensions—between art, craft and connoisseurship. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In exploring the relationships to one another of Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, Sam Zygmuntowicz of Brooklyn, Eugene Drucker of Manhattan, and a violin made of spruce and maple, Marchese corrals the acoustics and technology of violin building, the love of violin making, and the history of seventeenth-century Italian violins into one book. Emerson Quartet violinist Drucker plays a 1686 Stradivari that is temperamental, especially when traveling. Polish immigrant Zygmuntowicz, whom Marchese met at a luthiers' workshop, is one of the foremost luthiers making violins. Knowing both enabled Marchese to trace the construction of the violin from the beginning to its premier use. Marchese also relates Drucker's need for a more reliable and powerful instrument, the origins and history of violin making, and Zygmuntowicz's careful attention to every detail of his craft--all in a free-flowing style based on interviews and personal observation. LikeThad Carhart's The Piano Shop on the Left Bank (2001), this exploration of the lore of musical instrument manufacture is easy, entertaining, and uniquely informative reading. Alan Hirsch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I enjoyed it as an ordinary music fan. I gifted it to an accomplished violinist, she enjoyed it,,