The Cambridge Companion to the Violin is a convenient one-volume violin cyclopedia, which every violinist should have; and it is not expensive, but that's partly because it is getting on for 30 years old, and it's a bit out of date in its almost non-existent treatment of the development of string and carbon-bow technologies. It was written when Yehudi Menuhin and Suzuki were still alive, and none of today's young violinists is mentioned, but such books will always have that problem. Otoh, such books often come with an internet page nowadays, so maybe that's the future of this one.
It's one of those publications to which different people contribute different chapters, according to a remit assigned by the editor, who is usually also one of the writers. I won't say more about that, except that it doesn't lead to great books in the world of Classics, and the editors are often credited with too much laziness to write a whole book. Indeed, the editor Stowell's own chapters read like long, tedious lists.
Now that Menuhin and Suzuki and their generation are all dead, the whole 20s/30s radio/recording/media/Menuhin publicity phenomenon - i.e. violin's "golden age" - could do with more examination perhaps, along with the overly short chapters on the 20th century in general.
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