OVERRIDE

The Rest Is Noise

Listening to the Twentieth Century

Alex Ross

Picador

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Winner of the Grand Prix des Muses
Winner of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Deems Taylor Award
A Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction
One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
A Time Magazine Best Book of the Year
An Economist Book of the Year
A Fortune Magazine Top Book of the Year
A Newsweek Favorite Book of the Year
A New York Magazine Top 10 Book of the Year
A Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of the Year
A Slate Best Book of the Year
A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Winner of The Guardian First Book Prize
 
The Rest Is Noise shows the origin and enduring influence of modern sound on twentieth century life. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.
 
Ross takes us 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. He follows the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama’s The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club, the end result is a history of the twentieth century through its music.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

The Rest Is Noise
Part I1900-1933I am ready, I feel free To cleave the ether on a novel flight, To novel spheres of pure activity.--GOETHE, FAUST, PART I((( 1 )))THE GOLDEN AGEStrauss, Mahler, and the Fin de Siècle 
When Richard Strauss conducted his opera Salome on May 16, 1906, in the Austrian city of Graz, several crowned heads of European music gathered to witness the event. The premiere of Salome had taken place in Dresden five months earlier, and word had got out that Strauss had created something beyond the pale--an ultra-dissonant biblical spectacle, based on a play by an
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

MEDIA

Watch

  • Alex Ross on Music in New York City

    Alex Ross talks about the New York City music scene and how he developed his taste in classical and popular music.

BACK

REVIEWS

Praise for The Rest Is Noise

"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

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • 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.

  • Alex Ross David Michalek
    Alex Ross
BACK

BUY THE BOOK

Available Formats and Book Details

The Rest Is Noise

Listening to the Twentieth Century

Alex Ross

Pulitzer Prize - Finalist, Warwick Prize for Writing Shortlist, Marfield Prize Finalist, Pulitzer Prize - Finalist

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

BACK

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

BACK