2008: 216. The Rest is Noise


“When Richard Strauss conducted his opera Salome on May 16, 1906, in the Austrian city of Graz, several crowned heads of European music gathered to witness the event.”

The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, Alex Ross

This is the last book I read in 2008 (finally!) and what a way to end it! I picked it up because I was trying to meet my goal of reading five books about classical music (which, alas, I didn’t meet, because although I had the books with me on vacation, real life in the form of a two month old intervened!), and I am so glad I did - this is a phenomenal book.  I enjoyed it so, and learned so much that I am making it one of my 2009 book resolutions (watch this space for more on those) to keep reading more about music - I just need to find more books as well written and informative as this one.  This is, quite simply, the book to explain modern music.  Ross writes about the history of “classical” music in the twentieth century clearly and lucidly, so much so that you can understand what it’s about from the printed page alone.  Which is really some accomplishment - to make the reader understand about music without hearing it.  Ross obviously knows his material and can really write - it makes me want to re-read the book with the relevant music playing in the background (in fact, his website is supposed to have excerpts for the reader, so I might do just that!).  I cannot recommend this more highly, if you have any interest in understanding music in this century.


Date/Place Completed:  12/31/08; D.C.

Categories: Non-Fiction; Book Resolution(s)

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017