The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

By Alex Ross
Read by Grover Gardner

23.12 Hours 10/01/2007 unabridged
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The scandal over modern music has not died down. While modern paintings by Picasso and Pollock sell for a hundred million or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring onward still send ripples of unease through audiences; yet the influence of modern sound can be felt everywhere. Alex Ross, music critic for the New Yorker, shows how modern music has pervaded every corner of twentieth-century life. The Rest Is Noise takes the listener inside the labyrinth of modern sound, from turn-of-the-century Vienna to bohemian Paris, from Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We meet the maverick personalities who have defied the classical past, and we follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics on this sweeping tour of twentieth-century history as told through its music.

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times Bestseller

A 2008 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Nonfiction

Winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

Winner of the 2008 Guardian First Book Award

A 2007 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year

A Time Magazine Top 10 Book Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction

A 2007 Washington Post Book World Best Book of the Year for Nonfiction

One of the 2007 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

The scandal over modern music has not died down. While modern paintings by Picasso and Pollock sell for a hundred million or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring onward still send ripples of unease through audiences; yet the influence of modern sound can be felt everywhere. Alex Ross, music critic for the New Yorker, shows how modern music has pervaded every corner of twentieth-century life.

The Rest Is Noise takes the listener inside the labyrinth of modern sound, from turn-of-the-century Vienna to bohemian Paris, from Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We meet the maverick personalities who have defied the classical past, and we follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics on this sweeping tour of twentieth-century history as told through its music.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The Rest Is Noise is a great achievement. Rilke once wrote of how he learned to stand ‘more seeingly’ in front of certain paintings. Ross enables us to listen more hearingly.” New York Times Book Review
“Ross is a supremely gifted writer who brings together the political and technological richness of the world inside the magic circle of the concert hall, so that each illuminates the other.” Lev Grossman, Time
“It would be hard to imagine a better guide to the maelstrom of recent music than Mr. Ross, who worked on this book for a decade. He has an almost uncanny gift for putting music into words.” Economist  
“[A] brilliant, hugely enjoyable cultural history.” Christian Science Monitor
“The Rest Is Noise is a long and thrilling ride…[Ross] writes about music in vivid language humming with intelligence. He tells great stories about musicians’ lives and illuminates their work with the light of his own experiences.” Salon.com
“The best book on what music is about—really about—that you or I will ever own.” LA Weekly
“Gripping reading…[A] masterful blend of artistic and biographical insight. Readers new to classical music will quickly seek out the recordings Ross recommends…Even avid fans will find themselves hearing familiar favorites with new ears.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Twentieth-century classical music can be intimidating and alienating…Neither of these adjectives applies to The Rest Is Noise…This history of the century as seen-or heard-through its music is lucid and unpretentious…Grover Gardner’s delivery is as welcoming as Ross’ writing, and the performance as a whole is a masterwork.” AudioFile
“With his typically lyrical and attentive style, the author presents a lucid, often gripping story of a complex history. A must-read for those who have struggled with understanding modern music and a benchmark book that should eventually become a classic history of the 20th century.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Alex Ross

Alex Ross, music critic for the New Yorker, is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for music criticism. In 2008 he was a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, given for achievements in creativity and potential for making important future cultural contributions.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 23.12
Audience: Adult
Language: English