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Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

Alex Ross Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks

A Cultural Comment for the New Yorker website, Nov. 13, 2018.

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Alex Ross Muhly’s Marnie

Escaping Hitchcock. The New Yorker, Nov. 5, 2018.

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Alex Ross Bookshelf

Heidi Waleson, Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Death of the New York City Opera and the Future of Opera in America (Metropolitan Books / Henry Holt)
Anthony Tommasini, The Indispensable Composers: A Personal Guide (Penguin)
Alan Walker, Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times (FSG)
Paul Kildea, Chopin’s Piano: In Search of the Instrument That Transformed Music (Norton)
Stéphane Mallarmé, The Book, trans. Sylvia Gorelick (Exact Change)
Jean-Jacques Nattiez, Les récits cachés de Richard Wagner: Art poétique, rêve et sexualité du “Vaisseau fantôme” à “Parsifal” (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal)
E. Douglas Bomberger, Making Music American: 1917 and the Transformation of Culture (Oxford UP, December)
Sabine Feisst, ed., Schoenberg’s Correspondence with American Composers (Oxford UP)
Dana Gooley, Fantasies of Improvisation: Free Playing in Nineteenth-century Music (Oxford UP)
Eugene J. Johnson, Inventing the Opera House: Theater Architecture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy (Cambridge UP)
Robert Philip, The Classical Music Lover’s Companion to Orchestral Music (Yale UP) 

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Alex Ross A Dylan moment

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Alex Ross Nightafternight playlist

Anima Sacra: Sacred arias of Fago, Heinichen, Terradellas, Sarro, Feo, Zelenka, Hasse, Schiassi, Durante; Jakub Józef Orliński, Il pomo d’oro (Warner)
Kate Soper, IPSA DIXIT; Wet Ink (New World)
Du Yun, Dinosaur Scar and other works; ICE (New Focus)
Tyshawn Sorey, Pillars; Sorey, Stephen Haynes, Ben Gerstein, Todd Neufeld, Joe Morris, Carl Testa, Mark Helias, Zach Rowden (firehouse 12)
Salieri, Les Horaces; Judith van Wanroij, Cyrille Dubois, Julien Dran, Jean-Sébastien Bou, Andrew Foster-Williams, Christophe Rousset directing Les Talens Lyriques (Aparte)
Bach, Six Suites; Kim Kashkashian (ECM)
Bach, Sonata and Partita No. 1, Sonata No. 2; Hilary Hahn (Decca)
Dmitri Tymoczko, Fools & Angels and other works; Newspeak, Illinois Modern Ensemble, Collide Trio (New Focus)
Philip Glass, Symphony No. 11; Dennis Russell Davies conducting the Bruckner Orchester Linz (Orange Mountain)
Bob Dylan, More Blood, More Tracks (Columbia)

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Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise Playlist

— Gabriel Kahane, Book of Travelers (Nonesuch)
— Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F; Kirill Gerstein, David Robertson conducting the St. Louis Symphony (Nonesuch)
— Blitzstein, The Cradle Will Rock; Ginger Costa-Jackson, Keith Jameson, Christopher Burchett, Aubrey Babcock, John Mauceri conducting Opera Saratoga (Bridge)
— Linda Catlin Smith Wanderer and other works; Apartment House (another timbre)
— Anthony Cheung, Cycles and Arrows; Spektral Quartet, Claire Chase, Winston Choi, Atlas Ensemble, ICE (New Focus)
— Bach, Six Cello Suites; Yo-Yo Ma (Sony)
— Cassandra Miller, Just So: String Quartets; Quatuor Bozzini (another timbre)
— Ruth Gipps, Symphonies No. 2 and 4, Knight in Armour, Song for Orchestra; Rumon Gamba conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Chandos)
 

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Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise Bernstein v. Nixon

From the White House tapes:
Nixon Bernstein
More here.

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Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise 1989, the number

My essay on Tim Rutherford-Johnson’s Music After the Fall: Modern Composition and Culture Since 1989, in this week’s issue of The New Yorker, was originally intended to include consideration of several other books that address music of the early twenty-first century. In the end, I chose to concentrate on Tim’s book, but I’d like to make mention of a growing literature. Jennie Gottschalk’s Experimental Music Since 1970 has quickly established itself as an essential text, mapping the vibrancy of experimentalism in the post-Cage age. David Metzer’s Musical Modernism at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century focuses on established, quasi-canonical figures like Ferneyhough, Lachenmann, Sciarrino, Kurtág, and Saariaho. In so doing, Metzer vigorously opposes the idea of an endpoint for, or drastic transformation of, the modernist tradition: instead, he sees a network of continuities from the heroic early years to the present. The Cambridge anthology Transformations of Musical Modernism contains Susan McClary’s crucial essay “The Lure of the Sublime” and much other work of value. Finally, I was fascinated by Seth Brodsky’s study From 1989, or European Music and the Modernist Unconscious, even if its extensive deployment of Lacanian theory went somewhat over my head. Brodsky proposes a Lacanian distinction between “master modernism” and “analytic modernism,” which could be aligned with the dividing line between past and present traced in McClary’s essay. Brodsky writes: “A master modernism, dominating discourse with its calls for the new, fantasizes the future as its (Real) object. An analytic modernism, dismantling domination through its desire for absolute difference, takes the past as its (split) subject.” Still, I find myself most in sympathy with Tim’s approach, which avoids getting caught up in categorical debates around modernism and instead strives to address contemporary music very much on its own terms.

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Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise The state of the art

The Sounds of Music. The New Yorker, Aug. 27, 2018.

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