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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page-turning history
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...
Published on 1 Sep 2004 by Amazon Customer

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2.0 out of 5 stars May be of some interest to instrument makers.
I thought the life of a great instrument maker and a selection of his finest would not be much of a read - and I was right! As a music lover I could read about Mozart, Beethoven etc - all day - but an instrument maker is not a genius of the same level. It is also irritating to read every other sentence about "Stradivari's unique genius" - that sort of nonsense. He made...
Published 6 months ago by Stuart Tomanek


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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 (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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
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
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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
By 
Liz Ramsay (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars accessible Strads, 15 Nov 2013
By 
Michael Gross - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius (Paperback)
Toby Faber takes the detached view of the amateur enthusiast who gave up on the violin when he left school - he doesn't have a new theory to propose or a particular axe to grind. He simply follows the "lives" of six of Stradivari's instruments, the Davidov cello and five violins, and uses them as a thread for the story of Stradivari's fairly ordinary (though very long) life and his extraordinary afterlife. It is a fascinating story, very clearly written and accessible - no previous knowledge of string instruments required.

Faber's main interest here is the cultural construct of an instrument's worth and appreciation, so luthiers, musicians, and instrument traders all get equal parts. He doesn't pay as much attention to another group, the scientists who analysed everything from the acoustics of the wooden construction to the chemistry of the varnish. Maybe there is a popular science book about Stradivari's instruments still waiting to be written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely❤, 8 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius (Paperback)
The book is very nice and you cant stop reading it. Its one of my most favorite books. Highly recommended
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2.0 out of 5 stars May be of some interest to instrument makers., 24 Feb 2014
By 
Stuart Tomanek (Notts, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius (Paperback)
I thought the life of a great instrument maker and a selection of his finest would not be much of a read - and I was right! As a music lover I could read about Mozart, Beethoven etc - all day - but an instrument maker is not a genius of the same level. It is also irritating to read every other sentence about "Stradivari's unique genius" - that sort of nonsense. He made very fine violins of course - but not a genius - rather an expert craftsman. As blind tests have demonstrated - experts can't distinguish a classic Strad from a fine modern violin. The best bits concern some of the characters who were around at the time - Tartini for example. But Strad's life - the women he loved, his sons, the houses he lived and his career as a luthier - I found of no interest.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of 5 violins and the Davidov Cello, 11 July 2009
By 
T. B. Vree (Nijmegen, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius (Paperback)
Very nice history of the five violins (Messiah, Viotti, Knevenhuller, Paganini, Lipinski) and the Davidov Cello and their players.
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Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius
Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius by Toby Faber (Paperback - 3 Jun 2005)
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