The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

Alex Ross

Language: English

Pages: 720

ISBN: 0312427719

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism
A New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book of the Year
Time magazine Top Ten Nonfiction Book of 2007

Newsweek Favorite Books of 2007
A Washington Post Book World Best Book of 2007

In this sweeping and dramatic narrative, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, weaves together the histories of the twentieth century and its music, from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties; from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies up to the present. Taking readers into the labyrinth of modern style, Ross draws revelatory connections between the century's most influential composers and the wider culture. The Rest Is Noise is an astonishing history of the twentieth century as told through its music.














The Jazz Age Gershwin The Duke ((( 5 ))) - APPARITION FROM THE WOODS ((( 6 ))) - CITY OF NETS Ministry of Enlightenment Music for Use Now Opera Gestic Music The Threepenny Opera Twelve-Tone Music Battle Music Lulu Part II - 1933–1945 ((( 7 ))) - THE ART OF FEAR Revolution Young Shostakovich Terror Prokofiev Returns The Great Patriotic War The Zhdanov Affair Dance of Death ((( 8 ))) - MUSIC FOR ALL Radio Music Young Copland Popular Front Music New Deal Music

day. Following in the footsteps of OMGUS, the CIA occasionally funded festivals that included hyper-complex avant-garde works. Cold War politicians such as John F. Kennedy promised a golden age of freethinking art, and twelve-tone composers at American universities were the indirect beneficiaries. The Second World War was the war that never really ended. The Allied superpowers stayed on a military footing, and the introduction of atomic warfare and the discovery of the death camps in the summer

women alike—“like a young cat,” said the actor Jean-Louis Barrault, for whom Boulez worked as musical director from 1946 to 1956. Yet, in feline fashion, he could turn ferocious in an instant, mastering the put-down as a way of ending arguments. He was a brilliant politician, equally skilled at persuasion and attack. At all times he seemed absolutely sure of what he was doing. Amid the confusion of postwar life, with so many old truths discredited, his certitude was reassuring. As Joan Peyser

and laborious to decipher as to discourage the herd of people who treat it as casually as they do a handkerchief! I’d go further and, instead of spreading music among the populace, I propose the foundation of a ‘Society of Musical Esotericism …’” Debussy shared with Schoenberg a petit bourgeois background. Born in 1862, the son of a shopkeeper turned civil servant, he studied at the Paris Conservatory, where he struggled for several years to write a cantata sufficiently dull to win the sinecure

or subtracted. He savored “bent” notes—shadings above or below the given note—and “wrong” notes that added flavor and bite. He understood how decorative figures could evolve into fresh themes, how common rhythms tied disparate themes together, how songs moved in circles instead of going from point A to point B. Yet he also realized that folk musicians could play in absolutely strict tempo when the occasion demanded it. He came to understand rural music as a kind of archaic avant-garde, through

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