I blogged abiout Alex Ross’ book ‘The Rest Is Noise’ in 2009 and am reblogging to coincide with the long running season of concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, London which it has inspired. In an interview with Ross in today’s Guardian he explains why he wrote it and gives his thoughts on where music is heading in the 21st century.


I didn’t know how much I needed this book until I began reading it. I realise now that there was an enormous gap in my musical knowledge which Alex Ross’ brilliant study has helped to fill. By the end, he won me over to his central argument that “at the beginning of the 21st century, the impulse to pit classical music against pop culture no longer makes intellectual or emotional sense“.

One of the main strengths of the book is that Ross does not write from an elitist perspective. He is all too aware of the negative popular perception of classical music which means that it is “widely mocked as a stuck-up, sissified, intrinsically un-American pursuit“. At the same time he doesn’t argue that self appointed musical experts are always right : “Mainstream audiences may lag behind the intellectual classes in appreciating the more adventurous…

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