Marilyn McCoy opens the volume with a concise chronology, based on the latest scholarship, of Schoenberg's life and works. Essays by Joseph Auner, Leon Botstein, Reinhold Brinkmann, J. Peter Burkholder, Severine Neff, and Rudolf Stephan examine aspects of his creative output, theoretical writings, relation to earlier music, and the socio-cultural contexts in which he worked.
The documentary portions of Schoenberg and His World capture Schoenberg at critical periods of his career: during the first decades of the century, primarily in his native Vienna; from 1926 to 1933, in Berlin; and from 1933 on, in the U.S. Included here is the first complete translation into English of the remarkable Festschrift prepared for the 38-year-old Schoenberg by his pupils in 1912; it presciently explored the diverse talents as a composer, teacher, painter, and theorist for which he was later to be recognized. The Berlin years, when he held one of the most prestigious teaching positions in Europe, are represented by interviews with him and articles about his public lectures.
The final portion of the volume, devoted to the theme Schoenberg and America, focuses on how the composer viewed--and was viewed by--the country where he spent his final eighteen years. Sabine Feisst brings together and comments upon sources which, contrary to much received opinion, attest to both the considerable impact that Schoenberg had upon his newly adopted land and his own deep involvement in its musical life.
The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have 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 the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.
Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us 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. In the tradition of Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.
The essays are complemented by a new selection of criticism and analyses of Brahms's works published by the composer's contemporaries, documenting the ways in which Brahms's music was understood by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century audiences in Europe and North America. A new selection of memoirs by Brahms's friends, students, and early admirers provides intimate glimpses into the composer's working methods and personality. And a catalog of the music, literature, and visual arts dedicated to Brahms documents the breadth of influence exerted by the composer upon his contemporaries.