The Rest Is Noise Series: City of Nets: Berlin in the Twenties

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The Cambridge Companion to Sibelius. Daniel M. Raymond Furness. The Cambridge Companion to Schubert. Nicole V. Jeannee Waseck marked it as to-read Jun 21, Jo marked it as to-read Jun 07, Rachel Hurley marked it as to-read Oct 14, Katie marked it as to-read Oct 17, Susan marked it as to-read Nov 05, Laura marked it as to-read Jan 14, Jessica De marked it as to-read Jan 30, Erin marked it as to-read Mar 23, Douggie marked it as to-read Jul 27, Marina Aris marked it as to-read Aug 27, GGG marked it as to-read Jan 16, Laure marked it as to-read Mar 02, Gary Graver marked it as to-read Mar 15, Michelle marked it as to-read Mar 27, Nicole marked it as to-read Mar 27, LoveAtTheBookshop marked it as to-read Aug 28, Josie marked it as to-read Sep 26, Eric Gafner added it Oct 05, Ivelina Ivanova marked it as to-read Dec 02, Bl marked it as to-read May 06, Jen marked it as to-read Jul 06, Cin marked it as to-read Jul 22, Alexandra T marked it as to-read Sep 17, Although the musical life is still messy, the realia serve as a key to understanding of various sub-genres that emerged as reactions to historical events, distastes for certain composers's approaches or struggles in people's personal lives.

That way even Ligeti started to make sense to me. Also, I particularly enjoyed how Ross highlights the links between classical and jazz, world music, rock, electronic music, mainstream pop, etc.. He manages to convincingly show how classical is still relevant in current musical landscape, informing other genres even unknowingly , borrowing from them as well and transforming itself into something that could not have been foreseen in any way before the world wars. While it seemed to me at at times I was fighting this thick study, in the end I realize that I absolutely loved it.

Ross is brilliant when it comes to lively descriptions of compositions, their sound and technical parameters, but he is definitely not patronizing. The book is a sensitively compiled, though not too exhaustive, guide into 20th century pluralism, which leaves the reader free to search through this vast field alone with confidence. In addition, it comes with a link handy resource of online database of excerpts of every major work Ross discusses on its pages, including additional information and free music databases. All things considered, I think this is a book to have on your shelf for revisiting as you listen through the 20th century at your own pace and according to your own preferences.

Quite a nifty achievement. Jan 28, Tom Choi rated it liked it. This is a tremendous work which dares to tell the great history of music in the 20th Century. But in that it aims so high, it also falls short of its promise. There are some great "stories" that are recounted here, in particular, the portions concerning the premiere of Strauss' "Salome"; and the spirited rivalry between Strauss and Mahler; the unlikely journeys of Schoenberg and Shostakovich in the New World; and the drama surrounding Messiaen's "Quartet".

With these stories, Alex Ross demonstrat This is a tremendous work which dares to tell the great history of music in the 20th Century. With these stories, Alex Ross demonstrates his great talent for storytelling: detailed, sympathetic and well-paced. These stories seem to mirror the great drama within music and in the world that surrounds it.

But after the great upheaval of the Second World War, the book unravels just as a linear history of the classical tradition unravels into new strands, clashing philosophies and influences. Thus, as we reach closer to our present, the book loses momentum and we are faced with a catalog of names, works and brief summaries. You can't fault the author for the ending this is what happened to classical music but the lack of focus and coherent narrative was a disappointment.

What's missing is a substantial discussion of "social music" and how it's transformation into "popular music" created new possibilities and conflicts, as well as a tense dialogue, with the "classical" tradition. Classical music loses shape and also its audience because the world changes. I'm looking forward to Alex Ross' next work as well as his next piece for the New Yorker. Jan 05, Joe rated it really liked it. I began this book almost wholly ignorant of most of its central figures.

I knew that "twelve-tone music" was something controversial and supposedly inaccessible, but I didn't know what it was or if I'd ever heard any. So there may be major composers skipped, controversies skirted, opinions presented as fact; I probably wouldn't know. What I do know is that Alex Ross is a wonderfully passionate music writer, and he did a great job tying the history of 20th century music into the cultures it came f I began this book almost wholly ignorant of most of its central figures.

What I do know is that Alex Ross is a wonderfully passionate music writer, and he did a great job tying the history of 20th century music into the cultures it came from without making it seem like the composers were an inevitable result of the culture. I was inspired to check out a great many pieces by this book, and also given some context to keep in mind while listening.

Sometimes I can hear a piece without context and feel it immediately, but much more often it helps to have hints about where it comes from to direct my ear My favorite thing about this book is that Ross comes off as a music lover with critical thinking abilities, not a critic. He's never cynical, he takes no joy in tearing others down, he has respect for the power and influence of music he personally doesn't like, and he can articulate his moments of transcendence in ways that make you want to experience them yourself.

Dec 04, Bob King rated it really liked it. I heard many positive comments on this book, and being a lover of contemporary classical music, finally picked up a used copy. What's unique about the writing is that Ross mixes in just the right amount of historical context to the lively music scene of the past hundred years. You get into the heads of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Strauss and Copland -- just to name a few -- and come to understand that their musical styles were tightly woven into the politics of the time. Schoenberg and his students I heard many positive comments on this book, and being a lover of contemporary classical music, finally picked up a used copy.

Schoenberg and his students totally broke with the traditions of tonality in reaction to the decadent 19th century museum culture that romantic classical music had become. We learn about the influence of jazz on classical music Stravinsky and Copland loved it, and you'll hear shades of jazz in a number of their works. The author's descriptions of various pieces of music are wonderful. My only criticism is how much time he spends explaining various parts of operas.

The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross - Read Online

Maybe that's because I don't care much for opera. As you read the book, you'll want to listen to many of the pieces, which are described so enticingly. I found my CD collection growing throughout. Webern's "funeral march" in his Six Pieces for Large Orchestra is one of the most frightening five minutes of music I've ever heard. The other movements around it show off amazing and unusual orchestral color you've never dreamed of hearing. Then there's the joyful main theme of Sibelius' 5th symphony that just takes your heart away.

If nothing else, Ross's book introduced me to some of the finest music I've ever heard. Feb 26, David M rated it really liked it. I myself know very little about music, but I do like to listen to it. I like to listen to it, and I find the xxth century debates over tonality fascinating. Ross unsurprisingly takes the liberal, ecumenical point of view he does write for the New Yorker after all ; I myself want to be able appreciate a wide variety of different kinds of art, and to my untrained ear it's not obvious why Schoenberg should represent revolution and Stravinsky reaction.

Nonetheless, part of me can't help admiring th I myself know very little about music, but I do like to listen to it. Nonetheless, part of me can't help admiring the utopian spirit of modernism at its most intolerant. Ross certainly gives plenty of fodder for not liking terrorist intellectuals like Adrono and the young Boulez. At times his recipe of tolerance-as-an-end-in-itself seems a little facile. Yet overall I found this book wonderful, both for providing an introductory playlist and for delineating some of the conflicts artists last century had to face. Mar 03, Pia rated it it was amazing.

I'm gobbling this up. I grew up with musician parents but we never talked about music. So Alex Ross feels like the family I always wanted.

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My copy's studded with 3M markers and I've been on a Mahler binge since I started reading this. I want to hear every piece he mentions, which will keep me busy and happy and moved for the rest of the year. The writing's accessible, generous, and the vivid lives of the composers he discusses make for better reading than People Magazine. Sep 05, Rudy rated it it was amazing. How do you even write about music? During most of my reading I turn all forms of melodious interferences off.

For the most part, I did the same with this book. Sometimes if Ross discussed a piece at length, I'd look it up online and give it a listen on the side. But for the most part, Ross describes the music in such a succinct way. Talking vividly of the specific chords, melodies and instrumentation used and how even the tiniest changes in the pieces reflected the composer's world, personality How do you even write about music?

Talking vividly of the specific chords, melodies and instrumentation used and how even the tiniest changes in the pieces reflected the composer's world, personality and ideology. You can imagine the music while you read through the book, and for the most part, when I'd play it later on, my imagined version of the piece would never be too far off from the real one. The whole book is halfway through a music book and a history book. Nothing is apolitical in this book, and the music and composers described had always found themselves in different relationships with their patronizers and society at large.

The book raises interesting questions regarding societies' relationship with art. What it's use is for, what transformative effects it has, what meaning it has, etcetera etcetera. Highly recommended to anyone who can read. Apr 11, In-ho Yi rated it it was amazing. Finally finished reading this masterpiece. My idea of music has matured so much as a result. Mar 31, Barnaby Thieme rated it it was amazing Shelves: music. This ambitious, thrilling guide to notational music in the twentieth century admirably succeeds in its many goals. In this his first book Ross traces the development of music from Strauss's epoch-inaugurating "Salome" through to the work of John Adams, considering modernism, jazz, neo-classicism, This ambitious, thrilling guide to notational music in the twentieth century admirably succeeds in its many goals.

In this his first book Ross traces the development of music from Strauss's epoch-inaugurating "Salome" through to the work of John Adams, considering modernism, jazz, neo-classicism, the avant-garde, serialism, experimental music, and minimalism along the way.

The rest is noise : listening to the twentieth century

Special attention is payed to Sibelius, Schoenberg, Britten, Shostakovich, Cage, Reich, and Adams, but no relevant composer goes un-noted. Music becomes a template for considering the great social, historical, and psychological currents that defined the period. One of many examples: the fury and sorrow this reader felt learning of the debasement of Shostakovich by petty Soviet bureaucrats gives way to a deeply disquieting sense of unease when Aaron Copland received nearly identical at the hands of the McCarthy subcommittee.

I hoped this book would provide a context for understanding the more bewildering forms of music the last century produced, and it surpassed my high expectations. It does not require a degree in music theory to follow the evolution of chromaticism from Strauss to Stravinsky to Bartok to Schoenberg -- one needs only ears, a half-dozen CDs, and willingness to go on the journey. The rewards are many and profound. This book is written for the layperson.

It contains no musical notation at all, and very little close analysis. Ross's judicious and restrained use of technical terminology is carefully explained. A basic knowledge of the rudiments of theory and some of the broad threads of the history of notational music probably enhance reading this book. Other than that mild disclaimer, I heartily recommend it to anyone with interest in the subject matter. May 21, Nick Black rated it it was amazing.

Amazon , recommendation from aldaily. Alex Ross has elegantly and authoritatively consummated that incomplete education, with all the verbal pana Amazon , recommendation from aldaily. Alex Ross has elegantly and authoritatively consummated that incomplete education, with all the verbal panache and fluidity one would expect from the New Yorker's primary music critic a Harvard grad whose English thesis concerned James Joyce.

Opening in Germany's classical heartland and following the action around Central and Northern Europe allegretto grazioso , Part I introduces the "Founding Fathers" of modernism their ineluctable influence and enormous visages are backdrops for all of the 20th century -- the conflicted Mahler, the melancholy Stravinsky, the bemitleidenswert Strauss. The Rite's syncopations and Serialism's atonalities have set the scene for World War II and Part II's broad coverage of that war's music, including the moving story of Shostakovich's Leningrad symphony the 7th; Stalingrad is the 8th and Operation Squall as more completely related by Anthony Beevor.

Part III is a rich cacophony of names, styles and new directions; dozens of modernists are detailed, of which I knew only Cage with any familiarity. Any good book will unfold in a great fractal across one's life, a root node expanding with n-ary references and them their own n. Likewise with the music of The Rest is Noise , I must now go procure and hear numerous scores of this last century, and from them move on to other pieces yet unknown.

Thanks for the music, Mr. Apr 06, Nichelle Crocker rated it it was amazing. That was my reason for reading The Rest Is Noise. I was already a big fan of 20th century classical music and I wanted a jumping-off place for more listening. Ross states in the preface that he wants the book to appeal to people with a passing curiosity about this subject but that seems like a lot to ask. The real treat for me was finding out where I was wrong about things I thought I knew including, to some extent, my preferences and I suppose I should feel some embarrassment about that, but it only made me excited to discover more.

I feel a bit like I did when I was a college student pulling records at random during my late night music library shifts, listening to baroque trumpet or prepared piano or Prokofiev or Mingus or Peter Maxwell Davies, whatever my finger landed on that day. Love love love. Apr 26, Brooke Shirts rated it it was amazing.

Alex Ross is, in my opinion, one of the better writers for The New Yorker. This history of 20th-century art music is quite a feat: how to make some of the world's most difficult music accessible and understandable to the average music fan? Really, even though Ross' ability to describe the music and explain its placement and importance in history is stellar, I was frustrated with my unfamiliarity with some of the pieces he describes.

Here's a sample, from a description of Schoenberg: "The music ha Alex Ross is, in my opinion, one of the better writers for The New Yorker. Here's a sample, from a description of Schoenberg: "The music hangs by only the thinnest thread to the old harmonic order.

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It purports to be in B minor, yet the home chord appears only three times in thirty measures, once beneath the word 'agnonizing. Really, I don't feel as if I can do the book justice without raiding the classical music shelves at the local library, or spending a big bundle at iTunes. This isn't a book, it's a project. We'll see how far I can get before the book is due back. Word to the wise, this book is not for someone who knows little to nothing of 20th Century classical music. It also helps if you have some music theory under your belt, because Ross often delves into musical play-by-play [which is a good reminder if you've heard a piece before, but lost on someone who hasn't yet.

It does contain enjoyable tales of Word to the wise, this book is not for someone who knows little to nothing of 20th Century classical music. It does contain enjoyable tales of many a succes de scandale , composer feuds, and causal mentions of who's gay [which is of personal interest haha; who knew Copland was gay? News to me. I myself have a great deal of Britten to listen to.

The Rest Is Noise Series: City of Nets

View all 6 comments. May 17, Brett rated it it was ok. The two basic claims of this book are blatant lies: the first being that music is the only 20th century art form that hasn't been embraced and the second that this book is aimed at people with only a passing interest in classical music. Just because Jackson Pollock paintings sell for millions doesn't mean most people don't think they're crap. Similarly, there are plenty of 20th century compositions that are in the repertoire. And seriously, this book is clearly aimed at music snobs.

It also suff The two basic claims of this book are blatant lies: the first being that music is the only 20th century art form that hasn't been embraced and the second that this book is aimed at people with only a passing interest in classical music.



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