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The Violin Maker

Posted by Phoeniceus on Friday, September 25, 2009

I just checked out from my local library a book entitled "The Violin Maker" by John Marchese. Mr. Marchese is a professional trumpet playing who, having become interested in violins, persuades Sam Zygmuntowicz to allow him into his workshop over several weeks to watch him build a Stradovarius copy from scratch. I had never heard of Mr. Zygmuntowicz, but from this book learned that he is one of the best craftsman alive, and that his violins and cellos are sought by the finest classical players in the world.

I have not finished the book, but so far it is interesting and readable. I wouldn't call it gripping - it is more journalistic than literary - but the human element is strong and makes a fine read. It touches on the biography of famous violin makers in history and gives a glimpse into the world of modern classical music culture as well as some insight into how this instrument I am playing was built.

But I what I wanted to share with you was the line that made me laugh out loud:

"Those of us who play brass instruments often suspect that fiddle players regard us as the Neanderthals of the orchestra. And, in response, we dismiss violinists as being rather effete. I remember a teacher of mine once saying rather scornfully, 'Those fiddle players think they can hear the grass grow.'"

Yup. Busted!



4 comments on “The Violin Maker”

mudbug Says:
Friday, September 25, 2009 @12:41:28 PM

Sound's like a interesting book. Funny quote, but the one's that are REALLY considered "the neanderthals" by everyone else (including the conductor), are the percussion section. Oh well, I guess brass players need SOMEONE to feel superior to! ;-)

fiddlepogo Says:
Friday, September 25, 2009 @12:46:28 PM

What do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?

A drummer!!!

kubasa Says:
Friday, September 25, 2009 @3:47:02 PM

I enjoyed the book. Mr. Zygmuntowicz is a fine, fine luthier. I only hope to have a tiny fraction of his skill with regards to violin making. Here's a couple of links about him.

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=96708334&m=96780342

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awUssXVo6Sk&feature=PlayList&p=F0A81AE2BA9C6673&index=26

Mandogryl Says:
Saturday, September 26, 2009 @5:35:52 PM

I, too, read the book, and could not put it down.
Highly recommended!

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