Adam's Reviews > The Rest Is Noise

The Rest Is Noise by Alex  Ross
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's review
Dec 17, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: music, non-fiction, history, favorites
Recommended for: Musicians, music lovers
Read in August, 2009

Quite simply the most amazing book that I have ever read.

The amount of research that went into the production of this history is staggering and it was well worth it. I was truly engrossed with every single page turn. Ross' descriptions of the music and musicians throughout are truly inspired and real. Although I have a previous knowledge of most of the works I don't think that it is necessary in order to truly understand throughout. Ross brings us through the twentieth century smoothly sailing from one idea to the next, passing it off to several different composers, their friendships, their falling outs, the governments that controlled them, their art truly telling the story of how they felt about what was happening around them, and therefore us.

The Rest Is Noise really gets to the heart of the age and the development of not only the art that we created in the past 100 years, but the reasons why it was created and the climate under which it was created. This book looks at history from a completely different angle without getting too bogged down on any one aspect. Ross takes us gently through politics to music and religion in a way that makes absolute sense. The addition of sound clips on the author's website will help really bring the text to life.

This book is truly great and truly a great achievement. Beautifully written and painstakingly detailed and well informed. Read it, you will not be disappointed.

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Reading Progress

05/27/2009 page 104
14.44% "I'm to the part where Stravinsky is introduced in detail. Ross is de-mystifying him."
05/30/2009 page 132
18.33% "Talkin' 'bout Tin Pan Alley, Ives and Jazz."
05/31/2009 page 147
20.42% "This book is so long, and so detailed and so great."
06/13/2009 page 208
28.89% "Reading about Weill, the Threepenny Opera and Nazi Germany."
06/14/2009 page 238
33.06% "Shostakovich, Stalin, the politics of art during World War 2."
06/22/2009 page 394
54.72% "1945-2000. Reading about the radicals, Boulez, Cage, etc."
07/31/2009 page 530
73.61% "Penultimate chapter, discussing minimalism, be-bop, rock and Uptown/Downtown music. I love it."
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