New Yorker music critic Alex Ross made an auspicious, much-applauded book debut a couple of years ago with The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. Now, he turns that kaleidoscopic chronicle of a centurys music surveying the still-present influence of atonal chords, avant-garde sounds, minimalism, and more into an illuminating, ear-pleasing live event that brings together readings and musical performances. Ross offers portraits of legendary contemporary composers, from Mahler and Strauss at the end of the 19th century to Olivier Messiaen in the early-to-mid-20th-century. Ethan Iverson, best known as the pianist from postmodern trio the Bad Plus, plays piano interludes relevant to the subject in question. Bound, like the book, to send dozens of crazy-eyed music fans on a frenzied pilgrimage to the classical section of their local record shops, elevate many a musical reference level, and put the noise of 20th-century music into invaluable context.
Sat., April 24, 10 a.m., 2010