Sonus Faber Stradivari: Franco And Cesare - Part II

Franco explains to Steve, Ricardo and Ken how the cabinets are made

Franco Serblin was once a dentist, a practice that heals the body (or at least a specific part of it) by “inflicting” pain to the patient. I wonder if he embraced the art of speaker making later in life as a form of “catarsis”, a cleansing of the soul, this time by “inflicting” pleasure to the listener. And I mean pleasure: I still remember vividly having listened to Willie Nelson through a pair of Electas driven by Jadis amplifiers at Ricardo's house in Wimbledon more than fifteen years ago. It was my first taste of Sonus Faber. On that day they really put a spell on me. Somehow I felt this was not just another pretty box.

Cesare Bevilacqua with the Cremonas, photo taken in Vegas in 2002

Cesare has been with Franco ever since the beginning of the company: Sonus Faber, the “makers of sound”. “Franco is an artist”, he declares with obvious pride,” and like all artists he is more interested in art than business. But I have a company to run. It's not always easy to conciliate between art and business, heart and reason”.

I beg to differ. Cesare seems to be a happy man both at peace with himself and the world despite the stress of business life. I had the pleasure to travel with him, Benedicta, his lovely 5-year old daughter, and Giuseppe, his 7-year old son, for a short visit to Venice on a rainy and “acqua alta” day (another first for me). And having watched his tenderness, dedication and special relationship with the children I realized how the way he has managed to find the perfect balance between the love for his family and the demands of the job also reflect on the success of Sonus Faber.

Only those who have had the unique gratifying experience of making their acquaintance and have visited the very special cultural and historical environment they live in (Cremona, Verona, Venice) can understand the importance of a company like Sonus Faber in the context of today's hifi industry which somehow seems to have dedicated itself to destroy music on the altar of production rather than taking its time to care for it: masterpieces do not grow on trees. 

Next: Part III - close encounter