Includes a new chapter on John Cage.
Alex Ross’s award-winning international best-seller, ‘The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century’, has become a contemporary classic, establishing him as one of our most popular and acclaimed cultural historians; this is his much anticipated next book on the subject of music.
In ‘Listen To This’ Alex Ross, the music critic for the New Yorker, looks both backwards and forwards in time, capturing essential figures and ideas in classical music history, as well as giving an alternative view of recent pop music that emphasizes the power of the individual musical voice.
After relating his first encounter with classical music, Ross vibrantly sketches canonical composers such as Schubert, Verdi and Brahms; gives us in-depth interviews wth modern pop masters such as Bjork and Radiohead; and introduces us to music students at a Newark high school and to indie-rock hipsters in Beijing. In his essay ‘Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues’, Ross brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history – from Renaissance dance to Led Zeppelin – through a few iconic bass lines of celebration and lament.
Whether his subject is Mozart or Bob Dylan, Ross writes in a style at once erudite and lively, showing how music expresses the full complexity of the human condition. He explains how pop music can achieve the status of high art and how classical music can become a vital part of the wider contemporary culture. Witty, passionate and brimming with insight, ‘Listen to This’ teaches us to listen more closely.