Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception explores Messiaen’s imprint on recent musical life. The first part scrutinizes his compositional technique in terms of counterpoint, spectralism and later piano music, while the second charts ways in which Messiaen’s influence is manifest in the music and careers of Ohana, Xenakis, Murail and Quebecois composers. The third part includes case studies of Messiaen’s reception in Italy, Spain and the USA. The volume also includes an ornithological catalogue of Messiaen’s birds, collates information on the numerous ‘tombeaux’ pieces he inspired, and concludes with a Critical Catalogue of Messiaen’s Musical Works.
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.