Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

Books, articles, and a blog by the music critic of The New Yorker

Latest articles

Love in the time of COVID

The LA Phil has released the first video in its SOUND/STAGE series, drawing on performances that were filmed at the Hollywood Bowl in early August. I attended a couple of the recording sessions and wrote about them in The New Yorker this week. I'm struck again by the bittersweet atmosphere, the tinge of melancholy, which hangs over the lovely musicmaking....

A Harold Shapero moment

From a fascinating new disc of Shapero's orchestral music by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Of course this music is very heavily reminiscent of Stravinsky, but some passages are startlingly original, such as this recurring texture of shrill, spiraling winds and droning brass (matching 6:45 in the video):

A Kelley Sheehan moment

A Sarah Davachi moment

From her new release Cantus, Descant. Steve Smith has more.

Field recording

The LA Phil returns to the Bowl

Solo for Orchestra. The New Yorker, Sept. 28, 2020.

For Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the greatest-hearted public figures of our time, died today at the age of eighty-seven. Like many people, I am more or less speechless with sadness, but I wanted to offer up some music in her memory. In 2012, she wrote up a list of her favorite recordings, which I published on the New Yorker website. On it was Matthias...

My mother contra Wagner

With my parents and David Remnick at the Rest Is Noise book party, 2007. Tonight I will be speaking with my friend and colleague Anne Midgette at a virtual event hosted by Politics and Prose, the great DC-area bookstore. It will be a bittersweet occasion, since my previous appearances at Politics and Prose were rather joyous events, with my family...

Wagnerism publication day

Bea cautiously sniffs my latest creation.

White supremacy in classical music

Master Pieces. The New Yorker, Sept. 21, 2020.

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