Dd Book Club: The Rest is Noise

 In Archives

The idea of starting a book club has been kicking around Dd for awhile, but usually gets pushed down the road due to our collectively busy schedules. However, when I was reading Stephanie’s latest post about summer reading, I realized I had just received one of her book picks in the mail for my own summer reading pile. In light of this coincidence, I am happy to announce our first Dd book club!

THE BOOK The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (Pulitzer Prize Finalist)

THE AUTHOR Alex Ross (music critic for The New Yorker, a huge inspiration to the editors of Dd who hope one day to write about dance they way he writes about music, and fellow blogger)

“The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century is a voyage into the labyrinth of modern music, which remains an obscure world for most people. While paintings of Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, and lines from T. S. Eliot are quoted on the yearbook pages of alienated teenagers across the land, twentieth-century classical music still sends ripples of unease through audiences. At the same time, its influence can be felt everywhere. Atonal chords crop up in jazz. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalism has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward.

The Rest Is Noise shows why twentieth-century composers felt compelled to create a famously bewildering variety of sounds, from the purest beauty to the purest noise. It tells of a remarkable array of maverick personalities who resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with sweet sounds or battered them with dissonance, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art. The narrative goes from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties, from Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia to downtown New  York in the sixties and seventies. 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 twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.”


THE PLAN You have the next two weeks to secure the book. I have broken it down into a 9-week reading schedule of roughly 50-80 pages a week. At the beginning of each week I will post a reminder of what is on tap. At end of each week we will post our thoughts on the chapter, pose some questions to those of you who chose to go on this adventure with us, and gladly receive your thoughts.

June 10-16 Chapters 1 and 2

June 17-23 Chapter 3

June 24-30 Chapters 4 and 5

July 1-7 Chapters 6 and 7

July 8-14 Chapter 8

July 15-21 Chapters 9 and 10

July 22-28 Chapter 11

July 29- Aug 4 Chapters 12 and 13

August 5- 11 Chapters 14 and 15

Whether you are still dancing or choreographing or teaching or writing or gardening or building a business or working a nine-five, join us in learning more about the music that moves and inspires us and is so important to the history of our own subculture. Feel free to post any questions below or email me at hello@diydancer.com

This summer’s beach reading is about to get amped up!



Recommended Posts
Showing 13 comments
pingbacks / trackbacks

Leave a Comment


Start typing and press Enter to search