Listening to the 20th Century
The Rest is Noise (cover detail).

The Rest is Noise (cover detail).

From our archives
Aired: Friday, October 19, 2007 11-12PM ET

When it comes to the high arts, the 20th century brought abstraction, challenge, even chaos. In the paintings of Picasso, or Rothko, or Jackson Pollock, those hallmarks draw a crowd. In music, they have cleared halls and started riots.

Stravinsky drove them mad. Schoenberg sent them running. Now, celebrated New Yorker critic Alex Ross listens back with history in mind. In fact, he’s telling the century’s history — cultural and political — through its music.

Hitler, Stalin, FDR. Strauss, Shostakovich, Copland. And the Beatles. And Bjork! Up next, On Point: a musical history of the 20th century.


Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker and author of “The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century.”

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