Who says history is boring? And who says classical music died with Wagner? Well I have actually always liked history but was largely unfamiliar with 20c classical music until I read Ross’ excellent The Rest is Noise. Alex Ross does an amazing job of writing the history of the 20c in classical music starting at the waning but overwhelming influence of Wagner on early 20c composers like Schoenberg and Stravinsky through the onset of atonal music and on through the wars and the crazy 60’s. I had NO idea that classical music was so incredibly rich and interesting particularly in the previous century. I don’t want to spoil anything here because it is incredibly readable and you will learn on nearly every page. I am still trying to get through all the recordings that he posted on his book’s website (http://www.therestisnoise.com) which could serve as a fore-taste of how great this book is. Don’t walk but run to amazon and grab a copy. I liked it so much that I bought the sequel Listen to This…happy reading.
- The Rest is Noise festival: Politics and spirituality – reviews from the archive (theguardian.com)
- The Rest Is Noise: Britten and Shostakovitch cornered (gerryco23.wordpress.com)
- Featured Blog: The Rest Is Noise (everything.typepad.com)