The Rest is Noise

The Rest is Noise : Listening to the Twentieth Century

4.06 (10,961 ratings by Goodreads)
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Alex Ross's sweeping history of twentieth-century classical music, winner of the Guardian First Book Award, is a gripping account of a musical revolution.

The landscape of twentieth-century classical music is a wild one: this was a period in which music fragmented into apparently divergent strands, each influenced by its own composers, performers and musical innovations. In this comprehensive tour, Alex Ross, music critic for the `New Yorker', explores the people and places that shaped musical development: Adams to Zweig, Brahms to Bjoerk, pre-First World War Vienna to `Nixon in China'.

Above all, this unique portrait of an exceptional era weaves together art, politics and cultural history to show how twentieth-century classical music was both a symptom and a source of immense social change.

This edition includes a definitive list of the greatest recordings of twentieth-century music.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 640 pages
  • 154 x 232 x 58mm | 979.75g
  • HarperPerennial
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • ports
  • 1841154768
  • 9781841154763
  • 37,836

Review quote

`Alex Ross's incredibly nourishing book will rekindle anyone's fire for music.' Bjoerk

`A brilliant, bracing account of all the different kinds of "classical" music that have permeated this last dark century. Such an entertaining, accessible and enthralling book.' Colin Greenwood, Guardian

`It's a history of 20th-century music so vivid and original in approach that it made me listen again to many pieces I thought I knew well.' Philip Pullman, Guardian

`Ranks as my non-fiction book of the year. Erudite and engaging, written with flair and passion.' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

`Combines scrupulous and inventive analyses of the 20th century's music with lavish care over that music's improvised history.' Adam Thirlwell, Guardian

`Magisterial.' Telegraph

`He places the music in social and cultural context while sticking to the score and eschewing the artworld political consensus. A miracle.' George Walden, TLS

`"The Rest is Noise" achieves the aim with bravura, hacking out a path leading from cacophonous European modernism to the white noise of The Velvet Underground.' Ludovic Hunter-Tilroy, Financial Times

`Alex Ross breaks new ground. This is an astonishing book.' The Times

'Just occasionally someone writes a book you've waited your life to read. Alex Ross's enthralling history of 20th-century music is, for me, one of those books.' Alan Rusbridger, Guardian

`Stunning narrative. Visionary music critic Alex Ross comes closer than anyone to describing the spellbinding sensations music provokes.' Financial Times

`A work of immense scope and ambition ... 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

'A sound-drenched masterpiece.' Steven Poole, Guardian
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About Alex Ross

Alex Ross has been the music critic of the `New Yorker' since 1996. From 1992 to 1996 he wrote for the `New York Times'. His first book, `The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century', published in 2007, was awarded the Guardian First Book Award and was shortlisted for the Pulitzer and Samuel Johnson prizes. In 2008 he became a MacArthur Fellow. A native of Washington, DC, he now lives in Manhattan.
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Rating details

10,961 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 44% (4,820)
4 32% (3,517)
3 15% (1,628)
2 5% (558)
1 4% (438)
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