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Extended Audio Sample Listen to This, by Alex Ross Click for printable size audiobook cover
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:
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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 In a previously unpublished essay, Ross brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history—from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin—through a few iconic bass lines of celebration and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.”


  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Katherine | 1/30/2014

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

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