One of The Telegraph's Best Music Books 2011
Alex Ross's award-winning international bestseller, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, has become a contemporary classic, establishing Ross as one of our most popular and acclaimed cultural historians. Listen to This, which takes its title from a beloved 2004 essay in which Ross describes his late-blooming discovery of pop music, showcases the best of his writing from more than a decade at The New Yorker. These pieces, dedicated to classical and popular artists alike, are at once erudite and lively. In a previously unpublished essay, Ross brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history--from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin--through a few iconic bass lines of celebration and lament. He vibrantly sketches canonical composers such as Schubert, Verdi, and Brahms; gives us in-depth interviews with modern pop masters such as Björk and Radiohead; and introduces us to music students at a Newark high school and indie-rock hipsters in Beijing.
Whether his subject is Mozart or Bob Dylan, Ross shows how music expresses the full complexity of the human condition. Witty, passionate, and brimming with insight, Listen to This teaches us how to listen more closely.
About Alex RossSee more books from this Author
Critics who write about both classical and rock music are a bit like bisexuals: it’s not hard to guess their basic orientation.Dec 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
For him all classical music is tangled up in its time and place, and lurking in the best pop songs are the very same harmonic and structural devices that give classical music its eternal fascination.Nov 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
Can you name the music critic who can write as engagingly about Björk, the Icelandic rock singer, as he does about Brahms?Sep 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
(Though he does fret briefly about the fate of the audiences for symphonic music and of jazz, which appear to be experiencing a mutual decline.) But finally there is only music, good or bad, interesting or boring.Dec 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
"Writing about music isn't especially difficult," Alex Ross asserts in the preface to this absorbing, illuminating, exciting collection of some two dozen articles culled from 14 years as the New Yorker's music critic.Nov 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
Zachary Lewis Dallas Morning News 4 of 5 Stars "[Ross] deliver[s] writing about music that is very much like writing--eloquent, thoughtful, full of revelations and fresh discoveries.Sep 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
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Though Ross is best known for his writing on classical music, a sizeable portion of the book covers popular music, including extended essays on Björk, Radiohead, and Bob Dylan.Oct 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
“I hate ‘classical music,’” Alex Ross provocatively opens in his latest opus, Listen to This, “not the thing but the name.” It’s a grumble heard among musicians, but to witness The New Yorker’s music critic shout it out loud is an exhilarating validation.Feb 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
My shelves are stacked with CDs I discovered through The Rest Is Noise, and now Listen to This has given me further reasons to shop, thanks largely to Ross’s nuanced analysis of Franz Schubert’s “uncommonly immediate” oeuvre.Dec 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Listen to This
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