The Rest is Noise
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The Rest is Noise : Listening to the Twentieth Century

4.07 (10,172 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In this sweeping and dramatic narrative, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, weaves together the histories of the twentieth century and its music, from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties; from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies up to the present. Taking readers into the labyrinth of modern style, Ross draws revelatory connections between the century's most influential composers and the wider culture. The Rest is Noise is an astonishing history of the twentieth century as told through its music.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 684 pages
  • 139.7 x 205.74 x 30.48mm | 725.74g
  • Picador USA
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0312427719
  • 9780312427719
  • 137,318

Review quote

" With every page you turn, the story departs further from the old fairy tale of giants bestriding the earth and looks more like the twentieth century we remember, with fallible human beings reacting to, reflecting, and affecting with symbolic sounds a flux of conditions and events created by other fallible human beings. And turn the pages you do. A remarkable achievement." -- Richard Taruskin, author of the "Oxford History of Western Music" -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.- --Geoff Dyer, The New York Times Book Review-[A] Brilliant, hugely enjoyable cultural history.- --The Christian Science Monitor-Ross is a surpremely 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.- --The Economist-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.- --Kevin Berger, Salon.com-The best book on what music is about--really about--that you or I will ever own.- --Alan Rich, LA Weekly "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." --Geoff Dyer, The New York Times Book Review"[A] Brilliant, hugely enjoyable cultural history." --The Christian Science Monitor"Ross is a surpremely 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." --The Economist"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." --Kevin Berger, Salon.com"The best book on what music is about--really about--that you or I will ever own." --Alan Rich, LA Weekly 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. Geoff Dyer, The New York Times Book Review [A] Brilliant, hugely enjoyable cultural history. The Christian Science Monitor Ross is a surpremely 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. The Economist 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. Kevin Berger, Salon.com The best book on what music is about--really about--that you or I will ever own. Alan Rich, LA Weekly" "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. "Geoff Dyer, The New York Times Book Review" [A] Brilliant, hugely enjoyable cultural history. "The Christian Science Monitor" Ross is a surpremely 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. "The Economist" "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. "Kevin Berger, Salon.com" The best book on what music is about--"really" about--that you or I will ever own. "Alan Rich, LA Weekly"" ""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." --Geoff Dyer, "The New York Times Book Review ""[A] Brilliant, hugely enjoyable cultural history." --"The Christian Science Monitor" "Ross is a surpremely 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." --"The Economist" ""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." --Kevin Berger, "Salon.com ""The best book on what music is about--"really" about--that you or I will ever own."--Alan Rich, "LA Weekly" ""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." --Geoff Dyer, "The New York Times Book Review ""[A] Brilliant, hugely enjoyable cultural history." --"The Christian Science Monitor" "Ross is a surpremely 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." --"The Economist" ""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." --Kevin Berger, "Salon.com ""The best book on what music is about--"really" about--that you or I will ever own."--Alan Rich, "LA Weekly" ""The Rest Is Noise "is a great achievement."--"The New York Times Book Review"""The Rest Is Noise "is a long and thrilling ride. . . . Alex Ross writes about music in vivid language humming with intelligence."--"Salon" .,."[T]his is no plodding hisotry. 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 reveiw) "There seems always to have been a 'crisis of modern music, ' but by some insane miracle one person finds the way out. The impossibility of it gives me hope. Fast-forwarding through so many music-makers' creative highs and lows in the company of Alex Ross's incredibly nourishing book will rekindle anyone's fire for music." --Bjork "Alex Ross has produced an introduction to twentieth-century music that is also an absorbing story of personalities and events that is also a history of modern cultural forms and styles that is also a study of social, political, and technological change," The Rest Is Noise" is cultural history the way cultural history should be written: a single strong narrative operating on many levels at once. What more do you want from a book? That it be intelligently, artfully, and lucidly written? It's those things, too." --Louis Menand, author of "The Metaphysical Club""You don't have to be an aficionado of modern music to love this book: Alex Ross's extraordinary gifts as a writer, his deep knowledge of music, and his fresh forays into cultural history make "The Rest is Noise" a complete delight." --Jean Strouse, author of "Morgan: American Financier"""The Rest Is Noise" reads like a sprawling, intense novel, one of utopian dreams, doom, and consolation, with the most extraordinary cast of characters from music andhistory alike. A great, inspiring ride." --Osvaldo Golijov"In words that are beautiful, passionate, witty, and utterly compelling, Alex Ross has written a true rarity--a book about music that makes you want to run and listen to every note he talks about. A masterpiece." --Emanuel Ax "A rare and successful weaving together of musical and cultural history, at once sweeping and accessible, written felicitously by a seasoned music critic at home in the history of the last century. An enticing and bold invitation to learn something of the great themes of the past century." --Fritz Stern, author of "Five Germanys I Have Known""With every page you turn, the story departs further from the old fairy tale of giants bestriding the earth and looks more like the twentieth century we remember, with fallible human beings reacting to, reflecting, and affecting with symbolic sounds a flux of conditions and events created by other fallible human beings. And turn the pages you do. A remarkable achievement." --Richard Taruskin, author of the "Oxford History of Western Music" , .."[T]his is no plodding hisotry. 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 reveiw) "There seems always to have been a 'crisis of modern music, ' but by some insane miracle one person finds the way out. The impossibility of it gives me hope. Fast-forwarding through so many music-makers' creative highs and lows in the company of Alex Ross's incredibly nourishing book will rekindle anyone's fire for music." --Bjork "Alex Ross has produced an introduction to twentieth-century music that is also an absorbing story of personalities and events that is also a history of modern cultural forms and styles that is also a study of social, political, and technological change". The Rest Is Noise" is cultural history the way cultural history should be written: a single strong narrative operating on many levels at once. What more do you want from a book? That it be intelligently, artfully, and lucidly written? It's those things, too." --Louis Menand, author of "The Metaphysical Club""Youdon't have to be an aficionado of modern music to love this book: Alex Ross's extraordinary gifts as a writer, his deep knowledge of music, and his fresh forays into cultural history make "The Rest is Noise" a complete delight." --Jean Strouse, author of "Morgan: American Financier"""The Rest Is Noise" reads like a sprawling, intense novel, one of utopian dreams, doom, and consolation, with the most extraordinary cast of characters from music and history alike. A great, inspiring ride." --Osvaldo Golijov"In words that are beautiful, passionate, witty, and utterly compelling, Alex Ross has written a true rarity--a book about music that makes you want to run and listen to every note he talks about. A masterpiece." --Emanuel Ax "A rare and successful weaving together of musical and cultural history, at once sweeping and accessible, written felicitously by a seasoned music critic at home in the history of the last century. An enticing and bold invitation to learn something of the great themes of the past century." --Fritz Stern, author of "Five Germanys I Have Known""With every page you turn, the story departs further from the old fairy tale of giants bestriding the earth and looks more like the twentieth century we remember, with fallible human beings reacting to, reflecting, and affecting with symbolic sounds a flux of conditions and events created by other fallible human beings. And turn the pages you do. A remarkable achievement." --Richard Taruskin, author of the "Oxford History of Western Music" " Alex Ross has produced an introduction to twentieth-century music that is also an absorbing story of personalities and events that is also a history of modern cultural forms and styles that is also a study of social, political, and technological change . The Rest Is Noise is cultural history the way cultural history should be written: a single strong narrative operating on many levels at once. What more do you want from a book? That it be intelligently, artfully, and lucidly written? It ' s those things, too. " & nbsp; & nbsp; -- Louis Menand, author of The Metaphysical Club " You don't have to be an aficionado of modern music to love this book: & nbsp; Alex Ross ' s extraordinary gifts as a writer, his deep knowledge of music, and his fresh forays into cultural history make& nbsp; The Rest is Noise a complete delight. " & nbsp; & nbsp; -- Jean Strouse, author of Morgan: American Financier " The Rest Is Noise reads like a sprawling, intense novel, one of utopian dreams, doom, and consolation, with the most extraordinary cast of characters from music and history alike. A great, inspiring ride. " & nbsp; & nbsp; -- Osvaldo Golijov " In words that are beautiful, passionate, witty, and utterly compelling, Alex Ross has written a true rarity -- a book about music that makes you want to run and listen to every note he talks about. " & nbsp; & nbsp; -- EmanuelAx & nbsp; " A rare and successful weaving together of musical and cultural history, at once sweeping and accessible, written felicitously by a seasoned music critic at home in the history of the last century. An enticing and bold invitation to learn something of the great themes of the past century. " & nbsp; & nbsp; -- Fritz Stern, author of Five Germanys I Have Known " With every page you turn, the story departs further from the old fairy tale of giants bestriding the earth and looks more like the twentieth century we remember, with fallible human beings reacting to, reflecting, and affecting with symbolic sounds a flux of conditions and events created by other fallible human beings. And turn the pages you do. A remarkable achievement. " & nbsp; & nbsp; -- Richard Taruskin, author of the Oxford History of Western Music " You don't have to be an aficionado of modern music to love this book: Alex Ross' s extraordinary gifts as a writer, his deep knowledge of music, and his fresh forays into cultural history make "The Rest is Noise" a complete delight." -- Jean Strouse, author of "Morgan: American Financier"" "The Rest Is Noise" reads like a sprawling, intense novel, one of utopian dreams, doom, and consolation, with the most extraordinary cast of characters from music and history alike. A great, inspiring ride." -- Osvaldo Golijov" In words that are beautiful, passionate, witty, and utterly compelling, Alex Ross has written a true rarity-- a book about music that makes you want to run and listen to every note he talks about." -- Emanuel Ax " A rare and successful weaving together of musical and cultural history, at once sweeping and accessible, written felicitously by a seasoned music critic at home in the history of the last century. An enticing and bold invitation to learn something of the great themes of the past century." -- Fritz Stern, author of "Five Germanys I Have Known"" With every page you turn, the story departs further from the old fairy tale of giants bestriding the earth and looks more like the twentieth century we remember, with fallible human beings reacting to, reflecting, and affecting with symbolic sounds a flux of conditions and events created by other fallible human beings. And turn the pages you do. A remarkable achievement." -- Richard Taruskin, author of the "Oxford History of WesternMusic" " A rare and successful weaving together of musical and cultural history, at once sweeping and accessible, written felicitously by a seasoned music critic at home in the history of the last century. An enticing and bold invitation to learn something of the great themes of the past century." -- Fritz Stern, author of "Five Germanys I Have Known" " With every page you turn, the story departs further from the old fairy tale of giants bestriding the earth and looks more like the twentieth century we remember, with fallible human beings reacting to, reflecting, and affecting with symbolic sounds a flux of conditions and events created by other fallible human beings. And turn the pages you do. A remarkable achievement." -- Richard Taruskin, author of the "Oxford History of Western Music"show more

About 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, a Holtzbrinck Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin, a Fleck Fellowship from the Banff Centre, and a Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center for significant contributions to the field of contemporary music. The Rest is Noise is his first book.show more

Rating details

10,172 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 44% (4,488)
4 32% (3,290)
3 15% (1,495)
2 5% (507)
1 4% (392)
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