Classical Pop music

Hide captionAlex Ross weaves a tale of the 20th century through its music in his new book, The Rest Is Noise.

David Michalek

Now that we're comfortably settled into the 21st century, critic Alex Ross has taken a look (and a listen) backward, to the classical music spanning the previous 100 years. His new book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, explores how modern composers forged new techniques, found inspiration in jazz and pop, and forced us to hear music in new ways.

Ross makes a case for some of the century's most demanding pieces and visionary composers, from early modernists such as Arnold Schoenberg to revered minimalists such as Steve Reich.

From the vast array of music Ross traces in his book, he's chosen a Top 5 list he thinks is essential for anyone curious about modern music.

Ross is best known for his insightful music criticism in The New Yorker โ€” and on his blog, The Rest Is Noise.

Classical music fans need lots of space

Classical music, according to economist Tyler Cowen, is soaring in popularity, and is about twice as popular as it was before the advent of the Ipod. Just to store 1 symphony takes about as much space as 10 pop songs. So if you want to have a decent collection of symphonies, concertos, arias, etc., you need lots of space.

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