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Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto (Fugue State Press Classical) Paperback – October 18, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Review by Jim Dwyer, Library Journal:

So he, Cohen, writing with amazing energy but less like the twentysomething he is than a crotchety octogenarian on a month-long meth binge, has him, Laster, the virtuoso violinist, protege, financial supporter, and "performing monkey" for him, Schneidermann, the brilliant but obscure composer, supposed to perform the cadenza, launch instead into a 300-page verbal improvisational fusillade without so much as a single inhalation or rest beat (15 hours! So maybe I should read his short story collection, The Quorum, instead!), not so much a story as "talking, eulogizing, ranting, sermonizing" about his, Laster's, but more so his, Schneidermann's, life but more so a cultural/political/musical/religious/historical consideration of the entire 20th century and the end of classical culture from a Hungarian/German/Jewish/New York perspective. He, Cohen, will drive most readers away screaming "Oy! Too much is enough!" but they, the readers who stick around, will be delighted, if exhausted, which is why you, most public and academic librarians, should buy this, Cohen's, book, which might just become a cult classic.

About the Author

Joshua Cohen is the author of the books A HEAVEN OF OTHERS (with Michael Hafftka), THE QUORUM, CADENZA FOR THE SCHNEIDERMANN VIOLIN CONCERTO, ALEPH-BET: AN ALPHABET FOR THE PERPLEXED (also with Michael Hafftka), Witz, and Bridge & Tunnel (& Tunnel & Bridge). He was born in Southern New Jersey in 1980. Currently, he writes for The Forward and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
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Product Details

  • Series: Fugue State Press Classical
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Fugue State Press (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879193167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879193161
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,186,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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A cadenza for Cadenza -- well, not really. I won't claim with any seriousness to stand beside the author's own.

This, Cohen's first novel, is all I've read by him. (Witz, the lengthy latest that has all manner of respected critics comparing Cohen to Joyce, Pynchon etc., has yet to arrive at my door, but once it's here I look forward to reading it.) Between these two he's written another novel, A Heaven of Others. Just browse the Amazon pages for these novels and you'll sense immediately the grand overarching theme of Jewishness. While not as focused on this subject as Witz understandably is, or probably is, Cohen riffs readably on the nature of modern Jewish identity and many other things besides, history and aesthetics not the least. Music, too, takes center stage. (Surprised?) The layreader ought not be intimidated by this; familiarity with music, its history and terminology, helps to understand a few jokes but it's by no means essential.

If you do a little digging about this book you might find three words used more than others in an attempt at description. The first is "brilliant," an apt adjective if ever there were one. Cohen's prose stands out like, well, Sirius in an elsewise dull sky. The second word, if certain medical authorities are to be believed, is related to the first: "manic." This too is poignant. Cadenza could be mistaken by some as highly erudite babble, with its near-endless discursiveness.
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Format: Paperback
I recently bought this novel from the very audacious and artful Fugue State Press after months of high anticipation. I had read a sample of the text and the description on the Press website and I was taken by both the style and content of Cohen's book. As both a composer and a novelist myself it was nice to see someone tackling some of the same subjects I like to address in my fiction. Right from the get go, one is struck by the intelligence and maturity of the prose written in a very experimental style. Sentances rarely break in a normal fashion. Indeed it reads like a fractured speech which is exactly what it is supposed to be, the ramblings of a failed virtuouso violinist and his memories of the composer of the work he has just performed (or is still performing) The meta-fictional ambiguities really work here, and with Cohen's nearly encyclopedic knowledge of "classical music" as well as modern day NYC, the reader is able to page through at a good pace. This is his debut novel and it certainly marks a new voice in fiction to watch. It would have been a masterpiece if it was both a bit shorter and a bit more concise in its digressions. Some of the anecdotes are very poignant and sad, while others seem a bit pointless and redundant especially towards the end of the book. I think he could have chopped a hundred pages off this manuscript and it would have allowed many more people to enjoy its treasure trove of riches. The tag word at the end of the page to mimic a score was a cute addition which I appriciate for its originality but is completely devoid of purpose, espcially when the word is an article like "the" or "an" etc. But bravo Josh, this is one of the best debut's I've ever read! I am highly anticipating your second novel.
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