In Praise Of Quality

Antonio Stradivari, one of the greatest craftsmen the world has known, would shudder if he were to read what follows. It concerns a cello he made three centuries ago, in 1701, that today some musicians consider the best in the world. It is named after one of its various owners, Adrien-Fran├žois Servais, and for the past 20 years has been kept in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington. Occasionally a musician of renown is allowed to play the Servais: in 1992 Dutchman Anner Bylsma made a beautiful recording of Bach's six solo suites, which were composed about...

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