The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

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Click for availability and more information The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, by Alex Ross

This book has showed up on a lot of peoples' top ten lists for 2007--perhaps because it treats the subject of the great composers of the 20th Century in a manner that reads like an engrossing work of fiction. Of necessity a survey, depth is sacrificed for breadth, and the dialectics of 100 years in the evolution of the classical music tradition are rendered in fairly broad strokes. Not surprisingly, the dominant theme is the factional strife between musicians who continued to embrace tonality and the advocates of atonality/serialism. However, Ross provides enough detail concerning the lives of those profiled (Shostakovich's harrowing treatment at the hands of Stalin's repressive regime, Sibelius's anguished dipsomaniacal personality, the mutual respect alloyed with competitiveness between Mahler and Strauss) to transcend any tendencies toward the drily musicological
-David

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This page contains a single entry published on January 8, 2008 5:14 PM.

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