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The Rest is Noise @ The Southbank Centre

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
The Rest is Noise or Where Would we be Without Music
The Southbank Centre is about to launch its most adventurous programme yet; an entire year of the classical music of the twentieth century viewed through the prisms of history, science, literature, politics, dance and social and economic change. Culture is not produced in a vacuum, and this soundtrack to the last century promises to show us how history's seismic shifts have all been responded to by the music that was written at the time. Jude Kelly, the Centre's Creative Director, outlines the coming year in a short video.

The season begins over the weekend of 19-20 January with a programme of talks, debates, discussions and films divided into: Bites on the invention of radio, the rise of the demand for female suffrage, and the development of Art Nouveau. For those who want more to eat there will be In Depth talks and lectures on Einstein, twentieth-century politics and Viennese music as well as Shirley Williams reflecting on the political events of the last hundred years. There will be an opportunity to learn about classical music from the experts and to watch Visconti's film, Death in Venice.

Emmeline Pankhurst Addressing Suffragettes
Emmeline Pankhurst Addressing Suffragettes

The year will continue in this vein, with particular focus on Nationalism, Fascism, Berlin in the inter-war years (come to the Cabaret), the rise of America, the Post World War II period, the 1960s and the counterculture, the late twentieth century, the Iron Curtain and the Cold War period, American music in film and theatre, and the New World Order, including the fall of Communism.

1922 Film of Salome
1922 Film of Salome

All periods and events can be explored on the website, where tickets can also be booked. There are several options, including day and weekend passes, as well as discounts for concert packages. The site is friendly to navigate, and can be explored by theme, or by date.

Hippies at the 1967 Hyde Park Love In
Hippies at the 1967 Hyde Park Love In

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Why? To put the classical music of the twentieth century into a historical perspective
When: Throughout 2013
Where: The Southbank Centre
Cost: Details are on the website
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