Monday, July 02, 2007

More on Alex Ross' book

Mr. Ross has ensured that I know what I'm buying myself for my birthday next year (and to celebrate, the next day, Pierre Boulez' birthday). He has posted the chapter outline of his book, The Rest Is Noise. It seems to be divided into three major periods, the period before the Second World War, the period during (using Hitler's power-grab in 1933 as the beginning), and the period after. That is, to my mind, as sensible as anything else. In any event, take a look at the chapters and see how much grabs your interest. As for me, it all seems interesting. The problem is that I will probably have to read it all at once. Also, look at Ross' chapter on Jean Sibelius; conceptually, to me, Sibelius is the most interesting of them all. He just stopped. Ross explores why and Sibelius' influences on the way things are. The final paragraph:
In 1984, the great American avant-garde composer Morton Feldman gave a lecture at the relentlessly up-to-date Summer Courses for New Music, in Darmstadt, Germany. “The people who you think are radicals might really be conservatives,” Feldman said on that occasion. “The people who you think are conservative might really be radical.” And he began to hum the Sibelius Fifth.

Worth a read, as usual.

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