By Arnold Steinhardt
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618368921, 255pp.)
Publication Date: October 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
A richly detailed love letter to the violin, with a bound-in audio CD recorded by the author
Arnold Steinhardt, for forty years an international soloist and the first violinist of the Guarneri String Quartet, brings warmth, wit, and fascinating insider details to the story of his lifelong obsession with the violin, that most seductive and stunningly beautiful instrument.
Steinhardt's story is rich with vivid scenes: the terror inflicted by his early violin teachers, the frankly sensual pleasure involved in the pursuit of the perfect violin, the zanily charged atmosphere of high-level competitions. Steinhardt describes Bach's Chaconne as the holy grail for the solo violin, and he illuminates, from the perspective of an ardent owner of a great Storioni violin, the history and mysteries of the renowned Italian violinmakers. Violin Dreams is studded with musical pilgrimages, one of them to the all but vanished Polish shtetl where his mother was born, and where, he shows movingly, his own love for the eerily evocative sound of the violin was born as well.
With Violin Dreams comes a remarkable CD recording of Steinhardt performing Bach's Partita in D Minor as a young violinist forty years ago and playing the same piece especially for this book on his current Storioni violin. A lively conversation with Steinhardt and Alan Alda on the differences between the two performances is included in liner notes.
Arnold Steinhardt is the author of Indivisible by Four: A String Quartet in Pursuit of Harmony. He is the first violinist of the acclaimed Guarneri String Quartet and performs as a soloist all over the world.
"Entrancing...There are marvelous stories here...this is a delightful and deeply touching book." --Richard Goode, pianist
"My heart soared while I read this book. I actually was moved both to laughter and tears." --Alan Alda
"Arnold Steinhardt has written a rapturous, witty and passionate memoir of his life-long search for the perfect violin." --John Guare, playwright