The Rest Is Noise

The Rest Is Noise

Listening to the Twentieth Century

Book - 2007
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Baker & Taylor
A colorful history of modern music is set against the backdrop of the events, personalities, social institutions, and cultural movements of the twentieth century, chronicling the evolution of mass culture and mass politics, technological innovation, revolution, social experiments, and more in terms of the music of the era.

McMillan Palgrave
The scandal over modern music has not died down. While paintings by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring onward still send ripples of unease through audiences. At the same time, the influence of modern music can be felt everywhere. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalist music has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward. Alex Ross, the brilliant music critic for The New Yorker, shines a bright light on this secret world, and shows how it has pervaded every corner of twentieth century life.
The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.
Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us 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. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.


Book News
Ross (music critic for The New Yorker) tells the story of 20th century classical composition, which for him is an "untamed art, and unassimilated underground." While composers from Richard Strauss to John Adams lie at the heart of the narrative, Ross also places them within a social and political world, describing the politicians, dictators, corporate officers, art patrons, intellectuals, and critics who have attempted to adjudicate and control musical expression and the social upheavals that impacted the lives of composers and the music they produced. He also goes beyond the genre confines of classical to discuss connections to such artists as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, the Beatles, and the Velvet Underground. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Holtzbrinck
The scandal over modern music has not died down. While paintings by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring onward still send ripples of unease through audiences. At the same time, the influence of modern music can be felt everywhere. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalist music has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward. Alex Ross, the brilliant music critic for The New Yorker, shines a bright light on this secret world, and shows how it has pervaded every corner of twentieth century life.
 
The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.
 
Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us 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. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama’s The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.


Baker
& Taylor

A history of modern music is set against the backdrop of the events and cultural movements of the twentieth century, chronicling the evolution of mass culture, technological innovation, revolution, social experiments, and more in terms of the music of the era.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374249397
0374249393
Branch Call Number: 780.904 ROSS
Characteristics: xiv, 624 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Here's the story of key innovations in the often challenging music of the last century and many of its practitioners.


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noisyflowers Sep 10, 2014

A work of tremendous courage, beauty and generosity. A gift to all music lovers.

d
debiddo
Aug 24, 2012

A new classic. Thoroughly researched and excellently organized. It makes the often dry and inscrutable topic of 20th century music enjoyable. It had a good balance between pure biography of the major figures and writing about the works they created and the times/events in which they worked. Excellent prose.

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