The Genius of Antonio Stradivarius

Two hundred and fifty years after Antonio Stradivari’s death, his violins and cellos remain the most highly prized instruments in the world. Loved by great musicians and capable of fetching fabulous sums when sold, their tone and beauty are legendary. Every subsequent violin-maker has tried to match them. Not one has succeeded. How can that be? This lecture explores that central mystery by following some of Stradivari’s instruments from his workshop to the present day. It is a story that travels from the salons of Vienna to the concert halls of New York, and from the breakthroughs of Beethoven’s last quartets to the first phonographic recordings. Toby Faber’s book Stradivarius: Five violins, one cello and a genius, was described in The New York Times as ‘more enthralling, earthy and illuminating than any fiction could be.’ The lecture is illustrated with pictures of violins and of key individuals and locations, as well as with some short musical recordings.