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The Rest Is Noise

Listening to the 20th Century
De : Alex Ross
Lu par : Grover Gardner
Durée : 23 h et 7 min
Prix : 35,87 €
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Description

The Rest Is Noise takes the listener inside the labyrinth of modern music, from turn-of-the-century Vienna to downtown New York in the '60s and '70s. We meet the maverick personalities and follow the rise of mass culture on this sweeping tour of 20th-century history through its music.
©2007 Alex Ross (P)2007 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critiques

  • National Book Critics Circle Award, Criticism, 2007

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paula
  • 18/02/2008

Learned so much!

I'm a professional musician and I spent an entire semester as an undergrad studying 20th century music, but there were many times during my listen to "The Rest..." when I went- hey, I didn't know that!
Ross starts us out at the turn of the 20th century in the hotbed that was German late-Romantic music (Strauss, Mahler), and we walk through the remainder of the 20th century, not necessarily in chronological order. Instead, Ross deals with places and chunks of time, putting composers and the way they wrote into the context of social and political history: Weimar Germany, Nazi Germany, 20's Paris, New-deal USA, Soviet Russia, Post- WWII Europe, 60's NYC, and so on. The trick for the listener is to remember that this is world history seen through the lens of music history.
Yeah, you're gonna learn quite a bit about what went on musically. But even if you already knew a lot about that, you're gonna understand what it was like to be a musician, why composers wrote music the way they did at certain times and places, and how people reacted to that music.
I would caution the listener that it's a fairly musically sophisticated book. Ross hastens to assure us that he did not write it as a music history text, but as a guide for the educated concertgoer/ listener, and I think that's true. However, be prepared for some fairly advanced terminology. This is not for the newcomer to the world of "classical" music.
It's taken me almost 2 months to wade through this book. It's long and dense, and I went back over some sections again because I just really wanted to absorb all the information. It's totally worth the work though, for a fine understanding of musical history and just-well- history. Ross also has a website connected with the book which is chock full of exerpted recordings of the pieces he discusses.

Learn! Listen! Enjoy!

53 sur 53 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • R. Wagner
  • 16/01/2009

Excellent for serious music enthusiasts

This book is an important contribution to writings and analyses of 20th century music. It deals largely with 'serious' musical art forms and does so, for the most part, in great depth. By providing the political and social backgrounds during the lives of some composer, Ross enriches the book with valuable contexts that help us to understand the music of each period. He continually makes interesting connections between each composer with both their peers and mentors, providing some astonishing insights that are not commonly known. Fascinating stuff! The period in Europe between 1900 and 1945 is most effectively delivered and illuminating, as is American art music in the 50's and 60's.

Ross is a wonderful writer who employs rich descriptive language and a nice balance between facts and occasional humorous antidotes. The narrator does a fine job of endeavoring to bring the text to life without letting too much unnecessary drama get in the way. It's a large book, and he moves it along at a good pace.

As already indicated by several other reviewers, this book is not for everyone. It would be particularly relevant to the serious music enthusiast, students and music educators, and arts historians. Recommended.

8 sur 8 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Benjamin
  • 24/09/2012

I'd Read Ross Even He Just Wrote Warning Labels

When I began reading this book I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. I had the mistaken impression that this was a history of music of the 20th century across all musical genres. It is not that. This book focuses on the history of classical music of the 20th century. It covers jazz, but only how jazz affected and was affected by classical music.

I had half a mind to forego reading the rest of it. Boy am I glad I didn't. I'll be frank, I don't have a particular driving interest in the classical music of the 20th century and even after reading the book, while I am better informed, I have not suddenly become a fan of the genre. It was worth it to read this book just to hear Ross string words together. This guy can write. I kept reading just to find out what chain of words he was going to use next. He's that good.

This is the kind of guy you would quote without attribution at a dinner party to set yourself apart as the most erudite person in the room. I'd give anything to be able to write like this. Ross has a 10th degree black belt in the English language; that's the bottom line.

One note I'd like to add as a point of critique about the format. This audio book would be so much better served if excerpts from the pieces of music being described could be inserted at the proper points. I get that this probably isn't possible with the licencing of some of the music, but it would certainly bring the audio book full circle. It would be the entire package. For all that Ross is a master of using English to describe music, when he tells me that Charlie Parker "scribbled lightning in the air," I like the sound of the words. But what does that sound like in music? This book is great, set it to music and it would be a masterpiece.

6 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Priscilla
  • 31/03/2009

The best book I've "read" on the subject

Being a music student, I am surrounded by information on my obsession of choice. However, I find that it is difficult to find good sources for more contemporary music development, style and history. This book provides more than an overview, as it carefully delves into nearly every imaginable aspect of western music in the last century.

5 sur 5 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jim
  • 01/03/2012

Wonderful if you have some musical training

I really, really loved this book. However, I think that some other listeners might be put off by the need to really have a musical background to fully enjoy this book. If you don't know what a dominant 7th or a tritone is, for example, you might find long sections of this book tedious. But, if you've studied music or are a really serious aficionado, then this book is hard to put down.

4 sur 4 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Neer
  • 20/06/2009

Solid and Fun Listening

This audiobook is to classical music what Bill Bryson's A Brief History on Nearly Everything is to Cosmology. If you enjoyed that work, you will enjoy this. It is packed with insight not only into the masterworks of classical music, but the lives of the composers, their unique relationships with each other, and the history of the time. Its brilliant, and I could not get enough. The narrator is a perfect complement to the book.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • S. Yates
  • 20/05/2017

Fantastic, reignites appreciation for last century

Any additional comments?

This is surely the decisive history of 20th century orchestral music. Ross showcases an encyclopedic knowledge of 20th century composition, which is nicely complemented by his thorough and insightful research into the cultural, social, and political history each of the composers sprouted from. He weaves his way around the world and through various schools of composition, highlighting the composers and their works whether romantics or modernists, post-modernists or jazz (and in that swing or bebop), impressionistic or twelve tone. The book has a corresponding website that lives on with continuing blogposts, links to works, suggested listening, and the like. This book is probably best for readers who already have at least some familiarity with the classical repertoire and is made much richer by finding recordings of the works discussed. An eye-opening and educational book, an introduction to the realities and politics (both at the governmental and international levels, as well as within the musical community) that gave rise to much of the music of the last century. Well worth the time of any lover of orchestral music.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • 03/03/2008

just couldn't get into this one

I am truly interested in classical music, and listen to a lot of it --- including what was covered in the first 4 CDs-worth of this book.

I may at some point buy the book and read it in my own fashion.

But the reader put me to sleep. Too monotonous and flat. I suspect, though, that the subject is better suited to a combination of speed-reading and flipping to and fro, and that requires a hard copy.

9 sur 12 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • SAMA
  • 27/04/2014

Talking about music

If you want to discuss music in an audiobook, you should use the medium and provide musical samples of what you're talking about. This is excusable for print, but not excusable for this medium.

5 sur 7 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary Ann
  • 09/04/2013

He Writes What He Cares About and So I Care

If you could sum up The Rest Is Noise in three words, what would they be?

How fusty old composers overcame life's vicissitudes to produce meaning in sound -- Alex Ross's prose makes his critical ear accessible to me. Walking in the park, listening to his words, I could almost hear the tension of the notes that made the first listeners uneasy.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Kunde
  • 24/11/2017

I was never interested in classical music

this book made me listen to classical music, discovering interesting historical contexts and understanding better the developments in music