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Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto (Fugue State Press Classical) Paperback – October 18, 2006
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From the Publisher
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›