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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
An inspirational story of love and the transforming power of music, Stradivarius is a novel that will engage and delight everyone who believes that wonderful things can happen to good people. On the Korean peninsula during the freezing winter of 1951, a wounded American soldier finds a rare violin in the wall of a farmhouse where he has taken refuge. This is the beautifully told story of how a centuries old Stradivarius came to be in that unlikely place and how it changed the life of all those who possessed it. For this great instrument carries a kind of magic and all who use it are wrapped in its spell. This is also the story of two families from different cultures and different parts of the world: one rural, Baptist, Southern; the other, sophisticated, European, Jewish. The link between them is an abiding love of great music, possession of the violin, and the boy genius from the mountains of West Virginia, Ailey Barkwood. The remarkable route by which the violin reaches Ailey's talented hands, the course of love between two special but very different young people, and how great music, real genius and moral choices can alter destiny are the ingredients that make Donald Ladew's tale a novel that can be read, reread and remembered.
A beautifully written ghost story of the late Victorian period. Focusing on a seemingly haunted violin and one man's growing obsession with it. Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Your father, John Maltravers, was born in 1820 at Worth, and succeeded his father and mine, who died when we were still young children. John was sent to Eton in due course, and in 1839, when he was nineteen years of age, it was determined that he should go to Oxford. It was intended at first to enter him at Christ Church; but Dr. Sarsdell, who visited us at Worth in the summer of 1839, persuaded Mr. Thoresby, our guardian, to send him instead to Magdalen Hall. Dr. Sarsdell was himself Principal of that institution, and represented that John, who then exhibited some symptoms of delicacy, would meet with more personal attention under his care than he could hope to do in so large a college as Christ Church. Mr. Thoresby, ever solicitous for his ward's welfare, readily waived other considerations in favour of an arrangement which he considered conducive to John's health, and he was accordingly matriculated at Magdalen Hall in the autumn of 1839. Dr. Sarsdell had not been unmindful of his promise to look after my brother, and had secured him an excellent first-floor sitting-room, with a bedroom adjoining, having an aspect towards New College Lane. I shall pass over the first two years of my brother's residence at Oxford, because they have nothing to do with the present story. They were spent, no doubt, in the ordinary routine of work and recreation common in Oxford at that period. From his earliest boyhood he had been passionately devoted to music, and had attained a considerable proficiency on the violin. In the autumn term of 1841 he made the acquaintance of Mr. William Gaskell, a very talented student at New College, and also a more than tolerable musician. The practice of music was then very much less common at Oxford than it has since become, and there were none of those societies existing which now do so much to promote its study among undergraduates. It was therefore a cause of much gratification to the two young men, and it afterwards became a strong bond of friendship, to discover that one was as devoted to the pianoforte as was the other to the violin. Mr. Gaskell, though in easy circumstances, had not a pianoforte in his rooms, and was pleased to use a fine instrument by D'Almaine that John had that term received as a birthday present from his guardian....
The Stradivarius in the Basement is a collection of essays, some humorous, some serious, based on the author's 72 years of observing - and participating in - life on this wonderful but essentially puzzling planet.

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