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Preview: Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

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

Updated: 2018-01-19T11:50:10-05:00




The second edition of the Co-incidence Festival, an experimental-music gathering in Somerville MA, begins today and continues through Jan. 27. Michael Pisaro was the resident artist last year; he returns, but yields the spotlight to Joachim Eckert, who will stage...

Nightafternight playlist


) New releases of interest, in the manner of Steve Smith. — Debussy, The Complete Works (Warner Classics) — George Walker, Symphony No. 5, "Visions"; Ian Hobson conducting the Sinfonia Varsovia (Albany) — Cage, Concert for Piano and Orchestra, Wolff,...

A Helena Tulve moment


Und von liehte vinster, for bassoon and string quartet (2012), takes its title from the Middle High German of Meister Eckhart: "On earth, this entrance [to divine nature] is nothing but pure detachment, and when the detachment reaches its climax,...



A fiftieth-birthday present to myself: an overlong, often unreadable, but nevertheless continuous first draft of my third book, Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music. Minnie and Bea are warily supportive. Previously: Benchmark, Birthday poem.

Gregory Spears's Fellow Travelers


No Ordinary Time. The New Yorker, Jan. 15, 2018.

John Williams, Star Wars, and Wagner (again)


A Field Guide to Star Wars Leitmotifs, on the New Yorker website, Jan. 3, 2018.

Street Symphony


The People That Walked in Darkness. The New Yorker, Jan. 1, 2018.

Philip K. Dick's fan letter to Christa Ludwig


From The Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick, vol. 5.

Trump on Wagner


Admirers of the perpetually beleaguered art of Richard Wagner will be relieved to know that Donald Trump evidently has a low opinion of the composer. The passage above, dated Sept. 25, 1987, appears in Tina Brown's addictively absorbing Vanity Fair...

Hilde Zadek at 100


Warmest birthday wishes to the German-born soprano Hilde Zadek, who turned one hundred yesterday. She was honored at the Vienna State Opera, where she once sang alongside Schwarzkopf and della Casa in the company's famed postwar ensemble; Christa Ludwig, a...