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Viss Cits Ir Troksnis. Divdesmitā Gadsimta Mūzikas Vēsture (2007)

Viss cits ir troksnis. Divdesmitā gadsimta mūzikas vēsture (2007)

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About book Viss Cits Ir Troksnis. Divdesmitā Gadsimta Mūzikas Vēsture (2007)

My favourite chapters: - Chapter 7: The Art of Fear. Music under Stalin's Dictatorship. - Chapter 9: Death Fugue. Music under Hitler's rule. - Chapter 10: Zero Hour. With context, I find that I can appreciate 20th century music a little much better now. I've come to observe how its characteristics are summed up by, to put it simply, the very word: dissonance. Now we know why we seem to be listening to clashing chords, blaring of brasses, the shrill escalation of strings, and what I'd call, volatile emotions and dynamics. I highlighted the 3 chapters above because I just LOVE how Alex Ross has married history and music together (they are rather inseparable, anyway), and giving me a deeper glimpse into the more prominent composers of that era e.g. Stravinsky, Mahler, Shostakovich, Strauss. Never was I this consciously aware of how these composers and their work were an integral and important part of a bigger picture- a part of the great grand scheme of things which took place during those harrowing years. I mean, sometimes we just seem to compartmentalize (at least, I am guilty of it!). Music is music. Politics is politics. Well, hello, hello - who'd have thought it thinkable to have Strauss and Hitler mentioned in the very same sentence? Alex Ross has impressed me with his depth of knowledge in music (he is a music critic for The New Yorker). Yet at the same time, the very fact that he is too knowledgable makes this book a little too technical. An average reader seeking to know more on this topic may not fully benefit, in my opinion. Then again - there is for its chapter summaries; analyses and suggested music for listening for each chapter. Another reason why I give this book (and its author) another thumbs up. I like the idea of writing music history with some modicum of social history, it was a big missing piece (so I thought) when studying music history. Of course, you do have to expect that anybody writing about the 20th Century after the fact would be playing up the controversial stories, but that's ok, in the end. It means that when you get to the 1970s or so, you realize that every important composer was either gay or sexually deviant. We all knew that. I've actually read some reviews of this book that he spent too much time talking about music theory that they couldn't understand. I guess it's tough to make a balance. I didn't think there was very much actual musical analysis in the book at all. But the historical context analyses were necessary to explain why theorists follow after composers to explain their behavior.

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Seems like a good thing to read after the James Brown bio...

Must read if you have ears.

Incredibly inspiring!

2.5 / 5

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