The Pequod Review:
Alex Ross's superb book The Rest is Noise is an entirely original history of the 20th century as told through its music, from the Vienna premiere of Strauss’s Salome in 1906 through Steve Reich’s 1970s and 1980s minimalist masterpieces. Most books about music treat it as an isolated entity, without consideration of the historical and social world around it, but Ross places the music in the context of key (Western) political events. The book is full of economics too, including the influence of Hollywood studios and other ways musicians tailored their music to fit the demands of the marketplace. Here is a useful music playlist from Ross’s book.