The Rest Is Noise (eBook)
The Rest Is Noise (eBook)
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.
About the Author
Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for music criticism, a Holtzbrinck Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin, a Fleck Fellowship from the Banff Centre, and a Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center for significant contributions to the field of contemporary music. The Rest is Noise is his first book.
Praise for The Rest Is Noise…
"The Rest Is Noise is a great achievement. Rilke once wrote of how he learned to stand 'more seeingly' in front of certain paintings. Ross enables us to listen more hearingly." --Geoff Dyer, The New York Times Book Review
"[A] Brilliant, hugely enjoyable cultural history." --The Christian Science Monitor
"Ross is a surpremely gifted writer who brings together the political and technological richness of the world inside the magic circle of the concert hall, so that each illuminates the other." --Lev Grossman, Time
"It would be hard to imagine a better guide to the maelstrom of recent music than Mr. Ross, who worked on this book for a decade. He has an almost uncanny gift for putting music into words." --The Economist
"The Rest Is Noise is a long and thrilling ride. . . . [Ross] writes about music in vivid language humming with intelligence. He tells great stories about musicians' lives and illuminates their work with the light of his own experiences." --Kevin Berger, Salon.com
"The best book on what music is about--really about--that you or I will ever own."--Alan Rich, LA Weekly