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Book Club: July 8, 2024, 2-4pm, – Fellows and External Fellows

July 8 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

July 8, 2024, 2-4pm, – Fellows and External Fellows

Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (2007)

Discussion Leaders: Linda Hutcheon, Michael Hutcheon

Have you ever felt uneasy about (or even alienated by) the directions classical music took in the twentieth century? Well, then, this is the book for you. Writing in an accessible and engaging style, Alex Ross, the music critic of the New Yorker magazine, provides the political, social, and artistic contexts needed to understand why these composers resisted the musical past to prove that classical music is never a dying art. As Ross himself puts it, “the narrative goes from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the ‘20s, from Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia to downtown New York in the ‘60s and ‘70s. 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. The end result is not so much a history of 20th-century music as a history of the 20th century through its music.”

BUT it’s a big book! You may want to read selectively, if you are short of time or if your historical or musical interests are more focused, so here is a guide:

-Part I tells the story of the early 20th century, from Strauss and Mahler to Schoenberg and Debussy, with a chapter on jazz and American music. (1-212)

-Part II tackles music in Stalin’s Russia (Shostakovich, Prokofiev), FDR’s America (Copland, Korngold–and Hollywood–and the European emigres) and Hitler’s Germany (Hindemith, Strauss). (214-339)

-Part III looks at the post-war music of the cold war and after (Messiaen, Cage, Carter, Bernstein, Britten, Ligeti, Berio, minimalism–and rock). (343-543)

Happily, there is a companion music website that provides brief excerpts of some of the music discussed plus embedded videos, images, and links to archives, stories, and sound files elsewhere on the Internet. https://www.therestisnoise.com/2007/01/the-rest-is-noise-audio-guide-for-ipad.html (Available in all formats; 543 pages plus notes)

The link to register is https://forms.office.com/r/ettFrRHpCS

The deadline to register is the Monday morning the day of the event at 8 am. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants only.

If you have any questions, please contact the organizer – Linda Hutcheon at l.hutcheon@utoronto.ca.


July 8
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category: