Listen to This
One of The Telegraph's Best Music Books 2011
Alex Ross's award-winning international bestseller, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, has become a contemporary classic, establishing Ross as one of our most popular and acclaimed cultural historians. Listen to This, which takes its title from a beloved 2004 essay in which Ross describes his late-blooming discovery of pop music, showcases the best of his writing from more than a decade at The New Yorker. These pieces, dedicated to classical and popular artists alike, are at once erudite and lively. In a previously unpublished essay, Ross brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history--from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin--through a few iconic bass lines of celebration and lament. He vibrantly sketches canonical composers such as Schubert, Verdi, and Brahms; gives us in-depth interviews with modern pop masters such as Bj rk and Radiohead; and introduces us to music students at a Newark high school and indie-rock hipsters in Beijing.
Whether his subject is Mozart or Bob Dylan, Ross shows how music expresses the full complexity of the human condition. Witty, passionate, and brimming with insight, Listen to This teaches us how to listen more closely.
`Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues. This essay is Alex Ross's own chaconne, one that only he could have written - a display of lateral thinking as virtuosic, in its own way. It alone is worth the price of the book, which I strongly encourage you to buy.' Sunday Telegraph`One minute, you're immersed in Mozart, and then suddenly you're on tour with Radiohead and contemplating what it must have felt like for an unworldly Finnish conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, to take the reins of the LA Philharmonic. Reading the book is the literary equivalent of an iPod on shuffle; it offers fresh and unexpected stimulation at every turn.' Guardian`The qualities that make him a top-notch critic become clearer in concentrated reading...Ross is an avowed buff. He loves music with a nerdish obsession and he wants you to love it as much as he does' New Statesman