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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (559 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alex Ross Narrator: Alex Ross Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9781427211071
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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 In a previously unpublished essay, Ross brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history—from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin—through a few iconic bass lines of celebration and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 Björk 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The triumph of Listen to This is that Ross dusts off music that’s centuries old to reveal the passion and brilliance that’s too often hidden from a contemporary audience. It’s a joy for a pop fan or a classical aficionado.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[An] absorbing, illuminating, exciting collection.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A collection of supremely eloquent essays, addressing a range of subjects from Bach to Björk.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Brilliant…Ross offers timeless portraits that probe the ways that the powerful personalities of composers and musicians stamp an inherently abstract medium so that certain notes, songs, or choruses become instantly recognizable as the work of a certain artist.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Engaging.”

    Booklist

  • “Vibrant … A celebration of what it means to be alive in a world of great music.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barry | 2/20/2014

    " Who was it who said that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture"? Well, if that's true, then Alex Ross can dance a Gothic cathedral. His writing about music is simply amazing. Of course, I'm writing as a musician, and that gives me a big advantage. But it's hard for me to imagine someone not admiring the way he writes. His 2 books are easily among the 100 best books I've ever read, perhaps among the 10 best books I've read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anne | 2/8/2014

    " Couldn't get into it -- sounded like a great idea, but I just couldn't get into it, and abandoned it without reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 2/6/2014

    " Mostly already published essays by the New Yorker's music columnist, with some re-writing & editing for cohesion. Classical & pop. Writing skills + love of music + classical training = good stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 1/30/2014

    " This book almost got me to listen to classical music. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe Matson | 1/17/2014

    " I admire Ross's writing on music. Overall, this book wasn't as cohesive, and it didn't teach as much as his _The Rest Is Noise_. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon Hurd | 1/17/2014

    " Excellent read. Ross is the consummate music writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh | 12/21/2013

    " Ross lets his personal feelings about music creep in... and his writing's the better for it. The essays compare pop and classical side by side, and why not? Music = music. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan | 12/14/2013

    " A collection of essays by the New Yorker's music critic "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 William Beauvais | 12/8/2013

    " no comparison to the rest is noise. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Millie | 1/6/2013

    " Alex Ross is one of the music critics for THE NEW YORKER whom I read regularly. He's insightful, engaging, and knowledgeable. His commentary ranges from Bjork to Brahms and makes me want to listen to the music created by both of them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 12/29/2012

    " A little too over analytical but good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Iris | 12/2/2012

    " great as a check-list for some of the definitive classical performances found on LP/CD/youtube. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Pimlott | 11/27/2012

    " The chapter on Bjork is just wonderful; the Radiohead article is quite good too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Virginia | 7/25/2012

    " A wondwerfully fresh writer. I will gladly read anything he has written. Just can't say enough. I am going to go back and give him five stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aaron Terrazas | 5/1/2012

    " Compared to Ross' other similar book (The Rest is Noise) this was a disappointment, but there are some very interesting parts. I particularly enjoyed the essay on emerging Chinese composers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mmetevelis | 1/7/2012

    " Like Prometheus Ross takes the treasures of musical enjoyment only known to initiates and experts and shares them with us mere mortals. A mind opening, fulfilling, and exciting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yuval | 8/19/2011

    " I may be alone in thinking this, but this loose collection of various essays on music and popular culture actually seems to me more insightful and original than the "grand narrative" approach to the 20th century taken in THE REST IS NOISE. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gary Smith | 6/10/2011

    " Really brilliant first essay, somewhat disappointing that the remaining essays were all over the map. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathon | 4/10/2011

    " Good book. Some chapters were more interesting to me than others, but that's to be expected in an anthology. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 1/30/2011

    " The chapter on Bjork is just wonderful; the Radiohead article is quite good too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yuval | 11/15/2010

    " I may be alone in thinking this, but this loose collection of various essays on music and popular culture actually seems to me more insightful and original than the "grand narrative" approach to the 20th century taken in THE REST IS NOISE. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anne | 11/14/2010

    " Couldn't get into it -- sounded like a great idea, but I just couldn't get into it, and abandoned it without reading it. "

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About the Author
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. In 2008 he was a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, given for achievements in creativity and potential for making important future cultural contributions.