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Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Toby Faber
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Jun 2005

Everyone knows of the legendary quality and unbelievable price tag of a Stradivarius violin. In this, the first popular account of the Stradivari phenomena, Toby Faber explores the life and methods of this unsurpassed craftsman. Following the life of his instruments as they pass through the hands of many of the greatest musicians that have ever lived, we learn how and why they have become objects of such veneration and desire. It is a dramatic tale of grand artistry, fantastic music, shady dealers, forgery and science.

'Fascinating, accessible and enjoyable' - Tracy Chevalier

'A captivating book . . . An extraordinary accomplishment and a compelling read' - TE Cahart, author of The Piano Shop On The Left Bank

'An inspired idea for a book' - Telegraph

'Faber has found in the Strad a delightful leitmotif for an original comedie humaine' - Financial Times

'Faber pitches the story just right, neither patronising nor baffling the reader' - Times


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New Ed edition (3 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330492594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330492591
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'fascinating, accessible and enjoyable' - Tracy Chevallier"

From the Publisher

"Toby Faber’s engaging new book on Antonio Stradivari traces the history of a handful of his instruments–their biographies, who played them, where they went–and through it we learn a lot about how violins are made and the music world. It’s fascinating, accessible, and enjoyable reading."
–Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring

"A captivating book that follows the trail of six of Stradivari’s creations. Like strange totems that cast an irresistible spell, these instruments bring out the best and the worst of those who would own them, and Faber deftly tells the stories in all their rich and surprising detail. Avarice and intrigue compete with generosity and love of music in a drama that Faber brings alive at every turn. An extraordinary accomplishment and a compelling read."
–Thad Carhart, author of The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

"Faber's fresh narrative style will appeal to many readers, specialists included . . . It is full of interesting facts and anecdotes." – Guardian

"an inspired idea for a book. Because these instruments and their players have reputations that have endured, Faber has been able to find fine tales that hang on each of them." – Daily Telegraph

"Faber is chatty, user-friendly, eagerly non-elitist, and minimising of sources, yet his passion for his subject, his painstaking research, his faith in the integrity of musicianship and craftsmanship lift this book above gossip for the string-playing classes." – Financial Times

"more enthralling, earthy and illuminating than any fiction could possibly be . . . Peppered with anecdotes, fascinating detail and a dry English wit Peppered with anecdotes, fascinating detail and a dry English wit" –New York Times

"[Toby Faber] brings to the subject an infectious fascination with Stradivari's life and trade" - Chicago Tribune --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page-turning history 1 Sep 2004
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Subtitled "Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius" this is also the unpretentiously enlightening story of their players, owners, dealers and patrons.
Focussing on the six instruments keeps it digestible - along the way we get some understanding of what makes a Strad, how they acquired their reputation, of how the dealers dealt and of how friendship comes to conflict amongst the players.
Faber lets the events and some remarkable interviews, memoirs and letters tell the story, and unfolds a story of technology and art, greed and beauty.
I enjoyed every minute of it, and I suspect others will too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 16 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Certainly a fascinating and compelling read (and I'm glad it's available for the Kindle!). The subject could so easily have become a dry and tedious history lesson, but Mr Faber presents the reader with not one but six rich and intriguing dramas as we follow the 'lives' of the book's principle characters: Five violins and a cello.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative read 10 Nov 2012
By VZS
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of a multitude of books on the wonder of Stradivarius violins. Somewhat excessive enthusiasm about the "class" of these violins does not detract from a well told and fascinating fascinating story. The main story revolves around the history 6 instruments and their owners. It reads like the who's who of the most famous violin players of the past and the way their lives intertwined with the violins. Few will not enjoy a good read and all are likely to discover some new and interesting facts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read 13 May 2009
Format:Paperback
This is a good read whether you're interested in history or stringed instruments or both. It is accessable and well structured and though I don't usually read non-fiction I enjoyed this.
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