Antonietta

Antonietta

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by John Hersey
     
 

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A saga of a magnificent violin, Antonietta, named after a beautiful woman who was the inspiration of Antonio Stradivari's later years. As Hersey brings Mozart, Berlioz, and Stravinsky to life, he offers us a marvelous celebration of the changing character and eternal art and power of music.

Overview

A saga of a magnificent violin, Antonietta, named after a beautiful woman who was the inspiration of Antonio Stradivari's later years. As Hersey brings Mozart, Berlioz, and Stravinsky to life, he offers us a marvelous celebration of the changing character and eternal art and power of music.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pulitzer Prize winner Hersey's novel (BOMC and QPB alternates) is a delightful tour-de-force--a picaresque novel tracing the peregrinations of a violin created in Cremona by Stradivari in 1699, dubbed the Antonietta. (Aug.)
Library Journal
In the year 1699, Antonio Stradivari amazes his sons by announcing his intention to build a violin entirely by himself, with no assistance from them, his ne'er-do-well apprentices. The instrument will be of a radical new design, inspired by the old man's infatuation with a beautiful widow named Antonia; he will call it Antonietta. After his death, Antonietta's supernatural tone bewitches a succession of notable composers--Mozart, Berlioz, and Stravinsky--each at a crucial turning point in his career. Hersey follows the instrument as it passes from owner to owner, adapting his narrative style to the time and place. Some of the historical coincidences seem a bit contrived--Stradivari whistles Vivaldi tunes at work, for example, years before they were published. However, good music novels are about as rare as Strads, and this one will charm general readers as well as musicologists. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/91; BOMC alternate.-- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angele s

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679741817
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/27/1993
Edition description:
1st Vintage Books Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)

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Antonietta 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Antonietta' is an enthralling tale of the creation and life of a Stradavarius violin. The story spans over 300 years and most of the globe. Beginning in 1669 in a little town in Germany, the renowned violin-maker Stradavari creates a violin in the image of the woman that he loves. The violin is given her name, Antonietta, and not long after she is finished the two are married. After Stradavari dies the violin ends up in the hands of a violinist Lahouyasse. However, he does not truly appreciate the sound of the incredible instrument, so his friend, Wolfgang Mozart, begins playing it. He appreciates the way she sounds, but is not a true violinist. However with her help he composes several pieces of music. After Lahouyasse dies, Antonietta ends up in the care of an older musician, Baillot. He takes wonderful care of the instrument, and when he is approached by a composer, Berlioz, for help, he agrees. For some time he plays on Antonietta every morning while Berlioz composes his soon to be famous symphony. Once Baillot passes on Antonietta finds her way into Switzerland with a man immigrating to escape the war. This man, Federovsky, teams up with his friends Ramuz and Stravinsky to create a musical play, in hopes of getting rich quick. It is a smash when it first opens, but after the first performance Stravinsky becomes sick, and the play is performed only a few more times. When Federovsky dies, an American, Spenser, steals Antonietta for his own purposes. He is tone deaf, but he wants his freidns to think that he has impeccable taste in music, so his 'lady-friends' perform a recital. They are a hit, but eventually Spenser is arrested. The story leaves off with no real conclusion as to what happens in 1989.

Hersey uses point of view to his distinct advantage in this story. The book is split up into five acts, each told in a completely different style, and each containing one of the stories told above. The first and fifth acts are both written in the third person. Yet, even these two acts are not alike. The first act is written simply as a narrative telling of the violins creation. There is very little dialogue but it is brimming with details. The final act is written as a screenplay to a movie. This is in contrast to the first act because it is completely dialouge, with very little description. Using these two approaches to tell the beginning and the end brings a great deal of variety into the story. The second, third, and fourth acts are all written in the first person, but even these are distinctly different in style. The tale of Mozart's travels is written completely through letters. These letters are written to and from different people who were important in Mozart's life. However, this makes it hard for the reader to distinguish fact from fiction, for Mozart changes his own story several times. Hersey takes care of this in the fourth act, written through journal entries of its three main characters. People normally don't lie to themselves, as it accomplishes nothing. The third act is told completely from Baillot's perspective, which opens the reader up to his feelings, and even some that belong to Berlioz, but noth the way that the reader experiences in the second and fourth acts. Hersey's approach to writing this book was definitely new and unique, but it keeps the reader enthralled, and in love with the story the whole time.