Listen to This
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About the Author
ALEX ROSS has been the music critic for The New Yorker since 1996. He is the author of the international bestseller The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, which was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award.
"An indispensable, erudite collection." --Entertainment Weekly"Ross veers effortlessly from Mozart to Radiohead, and from Kurt Cobain to Brahms, bringing a pop fan's enthusiasm to the composers and treating the rock stars seriously as musicians....A joy for a pop fan or a classical aficionado." --The New York Times Book Review "So graceful, so pithy, so thoughtful, and full of insight...one cannot believe that anyone who loves music would not love Listen to This." --The Christian Science Monitor "No matter how complex his thinking, Ross renders it in lucid, approachable language: as you read Ross's writing, you hear him talking to you." --Fred Cohn, Opera News "[Ross] reminds me of my other favorite music critic, Bernard Shaw." --Roger Ebert "Even at his most cerebral, Ross deftly draws in the ears of the seasoned and the uninitiated alike, demystifying the traditions of music while celebrating its ability to transform. . . Listen to This is undeniably essential." --Time Out (Chicago) "A collection of supremely eloquent essays, addressing a range of subjects from Bach to Björk." --The Boston Globe "Every page of this collection is rich with vivid analysis and evocative vigor...Listen to This deserves to stand next to the best-written modern books on music: the collected works of Whitney Balliett, say, and Ross' own recent history of 20th century sounds, The Rest Is Noise." --Tom Nolan, San Francisco Chronicle "Vibrant . . . A celebration of what it means to be alive in a world of great music." --Kirkus Reviews "In this brilliant collection, music critic Ross utilizes a wide musical scale--classical music in China; opera as popular art; sketches of Schubert, Bjork, Kiki and Herb--as a way of understanding the world. Featuring mostly revised essays published in the span of his 12-year career at the New Yorker, 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. The virtuoso performance comes in the one previously unpublished essay, Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues, where Ross isolates three different bass lines as they wind through music history from the 16th-century chacona, a dance that promised the upending of the social order, through the laments of Bach, opera, and finally the blues. Ross nimbly finds the common ground on which 16th-century Spanish musicians, Bach, players from Ellington' s 1940 band and Led Zeppelin' s bassist John Paul Jones can stand, at least momentarily." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)