The Rest Is Noise
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What to expect
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.
“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
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