By Wook Kim
Updated March 30, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

The violin is generally regarded as the most acoustically perfect musical instrument — and the most acoustically perfect violins were made in the early 1700s. To this day, luthiers have tried, with limited success, to replicate the rich, vibrant sound of violins made by Antonio Stradivari and his contemporary Giuseppe Guarneri. In The Violin Maker, John Marchese spends months in the Brooklyn workshop of Sam Zygmuntowicz as he makes a violin for Eugene Drucker, a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet. His story of a gifted craftsman and a demanding client strikes a clear high note, with rich overtones on the themes of art, creation, and the power of music.