The Rest Is Noise Series by Alex Ross
"Grimes! Grimes!": The Passion of Benjamin Britten

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Synopsis

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.

Benjamin Britten lived for most of his life around the Suffolk coast, and is buried in the Aldeburgh churchyard. He once stated that all his music came from there. ‘Peter Grimes’ is an opera of staggering force that is soaked in Aldeburgh to its bones.

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. Britten’s music features prominently in the festival; ‘Music from Across the Iron Curtain’ is on 27 September 2013, ‘Britten Centenary Celebrations’ are on 2 and 12 October and ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ is performed on 3 November 2013.

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.

 

About Alex Ross

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Alex Ross has been the music critic of the ‘New Yorker’ since 1996. From 1992 to 1996 he wrote for the ‘New York Times’. His first book, ‘The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century’, published in 2007, was awarded the Guardian First Book Award and was shortlisted for the Pulitzer and Samuel Johnson prizes. In 2008 he became a MacArthur Fellow. A native of Washington, DC, he now lives in Manhattan.
 
Published October 10, 2013 by Fourth Estate. 30 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography.