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The Story of a Moment
ISBN: 978 1 847771 66 7
Categories: 21st Century, British, Humour
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Published: May 2012
216 x 135 x 13 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB)
"The piano is not an instrument for young ladies Massimo, he said, it is an instrument for gorillas. Only a gorilla has the strength to attack the piano as it should be attacked, only a gorilla has the uninhibited energy to challenge the piano as it should be challenged."
Thus Tancredo Pavone,the wealthy and eccentric Sicilian nobleman and avant-garde composer, as recounted by his former manservant in the course of the single extensive interview which is this book. But as Massimo recalls what his master told him about his colourful life in Monte Carlo in the twenties, in Vienna studying with a pupil of Schoenberg's in the thirties, in post-war Paris and in Nepal where he underwent the revelation which fuelled his later music, and repeats Pavone’s often outrageous opinions about everything under the sun, from the current state of civilisation to the inner life of each note, from why beautiful women are always unhappy to the vanity of his fellow composers, it becomes comically clear that not only does Pavone not always distinguish between memory and fantasy, but that Massimo does not always understand what it is he is repeating. Yet what ultimately emerges is the picture of a moving relationship between two people from very different walks of life, and, above all, the fact that behind Pavone's outrageousness and eccentricity lies a wounded and vulnerable man of profound integrity, for whom living and making music were always one.
'Concealed in this wry interview is an exhilarating "world tour" of music, and how it comes to be created. Music aficionados will recognise Infinity's central figure with delight; newcomers will learn all they need, and more, about an extraordinary composer, and the anguished musical era - the twentieth century - in which he lived and worked.'
'A tour de force of straightfaced high-culture lunacy ... very funny, deeply serious, at once scathing about the sublime preposterousness of modernism and profoundly admiring of it. Infinity is that rare thing - a novel about a creative genius in whose artistry you are made to believe, and who, for all his monstrous egoism and crackpot theorising, you come to care about and finally applaud.'
Howard Jacobson 'A Doctor Faustus for our time. Like Thomas Mann's great novel, Infinity shows how a composer's times are reflected in the creative process of composing, and has the novel's structure itself parallel the composer's aesthetic. Books as insightful as these into the composer's world are rare indeed.'
Jonathan Harvey 'Josipovici is one of the UK's most distinguished and fearless writers... [Infinity] is a charming, sexy, modern and scholarly novel - an unusual mix but all the better for it.'
Deborah Levy, Jewish Quarterly
'Gabriel Josipovici's Infinity (Carcanet, £12.95) is a wondrous Mobius strip of a narrative that turns ideas of biography, memory and the making of art into a story that one reads with rapt attention, in one sitting.'
Kirsty Gunn, Scotsman Books of the Year 2012
Praise for Gabriel Josipovici
'A seriously amusing, at times amusingly serious novella... its artfulness partly lies in its temporary suspension of certainty'
Michael Caines, TLS'Gabriel Josipovici is a deeply perceptive critic, always rewarding with a wide range of reference. The Singer on the Shore is a beautifully written and enjoyable book.'
Dame Muriel Spark 'Gabriel Josipovici is a deeply perceptive critic, always rewarding with a wide range of reference. The Singer on the Shore is a beautifully written and enjoyable book.'
Dame Muriel Spark
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