Festival of the week: The Rest Is Noise, Southbank Centre, London SE1


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The Independent Culture

No-one ever raised a statue to a critic, or so they say. True or not (and the jibe ignores how many composers, performers and other statued artists have doubled as trenchant reviewers), the Southbank's year-long exploration of 20th-century music – or, rather, "attempt to tell the story of the 20th century through its music", as the New Yorker critic Alex Ross says of his eponymous study, The Rest Is Noise – is surely the first time anyone ever based a festival on a critic's writings.

Billed as the biggest survey of modern music ever seen in the UK, it sets out to explore how history, politics and other cultural changes shaped the key works of the 20th century through a chronologically arranged series of concerts and related talks, debates and films.

The series opens tonight with Vladimir Jurowski conducting the LPO in an all-Strauss programme (including Thus Spake Zarathustra and the closing scene from Salome), with baritone Thomas Hampson and soprano Karita Mattila.

(0844 847 9920; southbankcentre.co.uk) from tonight