This is a chapter from Alex Ross’s groundbreaking history of twentieth-century classical music, ‘The Rest is Noise’. Further extracts are available as digital shorts, accompanying the London Southbank festival programme.Following the Allied victory, all over Europe, young people were emerging from the rubble into adulthood – amongst them, leading figures of the post-war musical scene. They would be indelibly marked by their teenage experiences, their memories colouring their compositions.Now a major festival running throughout 2013 at London’s Southbank, The Rest is Noise is an intricate commentary not just on the sounds that defined the century, but on art’s troublesome dance with politics, social and cultural change.Alex Ross is the New Yorker’s music critic, and the winner of the Guardian First Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Rest is Noise, which was also shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson and Pulitzer prizes for non-fiction.
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