by Helena Attlee
From the moment she hears Lev’s violin for the first time, Helena Attlee is captivated. She is told that it is an Italian instrument, named after its former Russian owner. Eager to discover all she can about its ancestry and the stories contained within its delicate wooden body, she sets out for Cremona, birthplace of the Italian violin.
This is the beginning of a beguiling journey whose end she could never have anticipated. Making its way from dusty workshops, through Alpine forests, cool Venetian churches, glittering Florentine courts, and far-flung Russian flea markets, Lev’s Violin takes us from the heart of Italian culture to its very furthest reaches. Its story of luthiers and scientists, princes and orphans, musicians, composers, travellers and raconteurs swells to a poignant meditation on the power of objects, stories and music to shape individual lives and to craft entire cultures.