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Starred Review. In this brilliant collection, music critic Ross (The Rest Is Noise) 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 The virtuoso performance comes in the one previously unpublished essay, Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues, where Ross isolates three different bass lines as they wind through music history from the 16th-century chacona, a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.
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Full of surprises and sharp observations, this “absorbing, illuminating, exciting collection” (San Francisco Chronicle) gives equal billing to pop stars and classical composers, crossing musical margins with remarkable fluidity. Though they bear the New Yorker’s signature style, most critics upheld Ross’s writing as eloquent and thoughtful, in language accessible to both laypersons and connoisseurs (although aficionados may have an easier time with the details). The Washington Post complained that the essays lacked excitement and literary “zing,” but others praised Ross for the sense of adventure that imbues each piece. Readers may find it difficult to resist Ross’s enthusiasm, and Listen To This will no doubt take an honored place on many a bookshelf. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Very good discussion of Mitsuko Uchida. Very odd lack of discussion of Daniel Barenboim.Published 2 months ago by Bron Taylor
Alex Ross is a fine writer on all areas of serious music and it's performance. He writes with authority with out being a know it all.Published 21 months ago by Rob E.
I bought this book to assign chapters to students for an introductory Music 101 class. Many of the chapters -- especially 1 and 3 -- are excellent for a course of this kind. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Abigail Fine
This was a present for a friend who likes it. Alex Ross writes like a dream! I may order one for myself some time down the road.Published 23 months ago by Marlies Hensel
If you're buying the kindle version you're gonna have to do a lot of hunting on Youtube for the music mentioned but that kind of made it more fun.Published on March 14, 2013 by Roberto Ruiz
I really didn't know what to expect when I order Listen to This. Although I am not a musician, it turned out to be a very enriching lesson over the music panorama. Read morePublished on February 8, 2013 by Nucha Ilari
Had I not read the author's "The Rest is Noise" before reading "Listen to This", I would probably have enjoyed "Listen" more and might given it four stars. Read morePublished on December 7, 2012 by Anne Mills
This was for my husband's birthday as he loves music in any kinds. I can't really say about the book because of this reason besides he seems to like it.Published on July 17, 2011 by Twins Rock