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Judith Furedi

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Member Since: Before 2003

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  Judith Furedi's Success Story
When I was still in college, I published a small anthology of poetry with a friend.

We put the book in an antique shop on Madison Avenue. We just walked in and talked to the owner and asked him if he would like to place the book on his counter. (He really was only selling very upscale, expensive antiques - not even any books - and it seemed remote that he would agree).

He looked at the book, which was modestly but well designed, small and cute, and he said 'Why not?'

Weeks passed. I did not think any one would buy the book, and nobody really did, not there.

However, one day I received a phone call from the antique dealer, asking me permission whether a customer of his could call me to ask me some questions about my book. I said,' yes, of course.

Then the call came from the gentleman. He said he was a composer of classical music. What is more, he was also Hungarian! (I was born in Hungary and still speak it, haltingly). Sometimes, I say I don't believe in coincidences, and this was one of those times. But, I digress.

To make a long story shorter he said he loved, loved, loved my poetry (out of all the other poets in the anthology) and could he set them to music. I was overjoyed and very flattered, and in disbelief.

We next met in his apartment on East 57th Street. I went alone, with some trepidation. But something told me he was the real deal. Still, I was nervous.

A woman opened the door. She greeted me with a smile and a Hungarian accent. She was his wife (and I later found out, a performing arts critic for the NY Times!).

Then I sat down with Paul Reif, the composer in question. We made some small talk and then he produced a contract. He also said that the music would be recorded on Grenadilla Records and I would need to join A.S.C.A.P. Again, I couldn't believe my luck. I was barely 21.

Then the day of the performance came. My parents proudly accompanied me to Carnegie Hall.

After the piece was performed, the lyricist (me!) was asked to stand up among the audience. I was greeted with tremendous applause. It was a moment I will never forget. It was like a dream come true.

Afterwards, Paul Reif, my parents, and other people all went to the famous Russian Tea Room for cocktails. I was so excited I couldn't even eat.

The reviews appeared in the Times, written by Rita, the following week. They were extremely positive.
(I regret that I never saved them, because I am having trouble finding the archives from those times).

Some years passed. The age of the Internet was now upon us. I did a search on Paul Reif, and found out that sadly he was deceased. He was not young when I met him, so it was almost to be expected.

However, I found out that the man who recorded the piece called 'Dou For Three' was much younger, and still alive. I wrote to him, inquiring if he had any copies of the music, etc. (Back in those days, I never thought of looking for it or keeping any mementos of this achievement).

His name is William Vollinger, and he said he did.
A few weeks later, he not only set me a copy of an old vinyl 33, but a CD with my recording on it. The back of the cover gives an example from one of my poems, and mentions me as 'the young poet, Judith Furedi!

I put the CD into my computer and finally was able to hear, after many years, what I had only vaguely remembered on that night at Carnegie Hall. It sounded strange to me. My words did not seem like my own, set to this strange, modern, classical music - but they were mine. My funny and surreal words made a perfect fit with the witty music and I realized why he chose my poetry over the others.

I am still in touch with Bill, and one day I intend to
submit more poetry to him.

Paul Reif, wherever you are, thank you. You were an angel. If nothing else, you gave me my 'fifteen minutes of fame' - and more. A true recognition from my peers, an honor; and the highest prestige for a poet: to appear at Carnegie Hall and have her words recorded and immortalized forever.

That is one of my success stories. Only one of many.

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