Alex Ross’s The Rest Is Noise is that rare music book that teaches you how to hear — and feel — in entirely new ways. Now Ross has turned the book’s website into something more than a promotional device: Augmented with 300 audio and video files, it’s become a wonderfully convenient, stand-alone resource for those of us who’d love to learn about classical music by listening but wouldn’t know how or where to begin.
Divided into 3 parts and 15 chapters, the site proceeds chronologically, from Mahler and Strauss to bebop, rock, and modern composers you’ll actually like (we’ve grown especially fond of Argentina’s
Osvaldo Golijov). Ross has also posted a dictionary of musical terms (it, too, has illustrative audio files) and an iTunes playlist you can download and listen to as you, for instance, trace the connection between Xenakis’s “Metastasis” (we’d never heard of it either) and the Beatles’ “Revolution #9.” If you want to know how and why the music you hear affects you — or even if you’re looking to impress your next date to a concert — this genius site is just the thing for you.
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