I love the violin. I studied it in my later years and my daughter, now 16, has been playing it since she was five. I’m also a big fan of Violinist.com, an online musician community for lovers of this magnificent instrument. Founded by Laurie Niles in 1996, the site has over 200,000 readers a month, and regularly offers articles on the art of violin playing, as well as interviews with famous violinists.
Thus comes this book, which is a compilation of 27 exclusive, one-on-one interviews with violinists ranging from Joshua Bell to Sarah Chang, to Hilary Hahn to Anne-Sophie Mutter, to Ruggiero Ricci to Maxim Vengerov, which Niles conducted over the past six years.
In one word, this book is: fascinating. If you love listening to violin music, or are a violinist yourself, you’ll relish the inside information into the lives of these incredibly talented soloists and their ups and downs as they travel the world and make personal sacrifices in order to play live concerts, sometimes as many as a hundred or more a year.
After a thoughtful foreword by Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn, Niles goes on to ask violinists the questions I would have liked to ask myself, from questions about technique and expression, to how a player shapes an instrument (and vise versa) to multi-million Stradivari, to bows that can cost up to half a million dollars, to what makes a world-class soloist, to the controversy of shoulder rests, to even what type of gown to wear depending on the composer, and then some. Questions from the peculiar and fun to the serious intricacies of the various techniques, building up stamina, and staying focused during a performance. Of course, there’s plenty of discussion about composers and their works, as well as celebrated violin teachers and their methods.
The Violinist.com Interviews: Volume One is a must for violin students and anyone interested in the world of violin music. Highly recommended!
The book is available in print and Kindle formats. Find out more on Amazon.
Visit the author’s Website.
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A feverish mix of disturbed characters in another time and space, truly facetious entertainment from Calvani.
In steamy San Juan, Puerto Rico, these and other crazed, eccentric characters swirl together in an intriguing, warped, darkly humorous world where not even cats are safe from chemically induced madness.
Sunstruck was of interest to me in part because the author Calvani lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico and this is where Sunstruck comes to life. Having been born in Puerto Rico myself I found it fascinating to run into an author from the island. I found Sunstruck to be quite funny and throughout the book I caught myself laughing many times. The crazy characters and atmosphere of Old San Juan create a perfect narrative for this mix of madness. Daniella the main character seems like a regular college student until you step into her life and meet her psychotic friends. For a little while you feel Daniella’s mother, a widow is the only sane one, until you find out what her true interests are. While her best and only friend fills her ear with her amor for a priest, Daniella feels there are more important things to think about. Like Zorro the psycho going around leaving his mark on the rear ends of woman. Sunstruck is like a nutty Whodunit with a little twist. Who really is in the Zorro costume? With all the crazy characters I caught myself pointing fingers again and again. A great read that will make you forget where you are, while you giggle yourself to complete oblivion from all the silliness.
Here’s the latest review of my satire novel, Sunstruck. I’ll have a smile on my face the rest of the week.
- Tony: tried to make the life of a famous painter, with his weird-o art.
- Daniella: always knew there was more to her life than she was living.
- Ismael: went from a nobody to a somebody really quickly, and was greedy and wanted more.
- Lady Dracula: wants everlasting youth, and will go through drastic measures to ensure it is hers.
- Marcela: lonely, tries to find her way in this world. Feminist in disguise.
- Mari Carmen: knows what she wants, but can’t exactly make up her own mind.
- Zorro: The X character who puts life and threat into San Juan.
- Commando: an imported cat who provided Daniella with stability and faith.
- Twisted (only book I haven’t been able to guess the ending!)
- Intriguing (I couldn’t put it down!)
- Personal (It truly hit home with me, and portrayed feelings that I consider my own!)
You can buy the book on Amazon HERE, in print or on the Kindle.
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