I’m an avid Spotify fan and an avid classical music fan. Over Christmas it was great to finally sit down and get reading Alex Ross’ amazing book "The Rest is Noise" in which he surveys twentieth century classical music. It is an amazing work, stretching to 591 pages. At times it’s too good. One reads Ross describing the works he loves and get so swept up in his descriptions that when you stop and listen to the piece you are left wondering what medications he’s on, and where to buy them 😉
In the book each chapter focuses on a composer, an event, a piece, or a period and brings in piece after piece to contrast and explain the historic people and events. As an appendix he also includes a list of key recordings, and he does the same thing on his blog.
And there’s the problem. Today I found (thanks to a twitter shout out from @spotify retweeting @afront) a fabulous looking blog presenting classical music playlists on spotify: http://www.spotifyclassical.com/ One of ulyssestone’s posts is a Spotify playlist of Ross’ book. Here it is http://open.spotify.com/user/ulyssestone/playlist/50wC6eKC0EImYi20GnWPvH (you’ll need spotify for this to work, sorry. I do have some spare invites if you are in the UK and cannot get in). But although @ulyssestoone has rendered Ross’ iTunes playlist into Spotify, neither capture anything like the wealth of information and the texture of the book. So I’ve attempted to render just one chapter, my favourite, chapter twelve titled "Grimes! Grimes!" to a Spotify playlist. It’s enormous, and even so I had to miss a few pieces that Ross mentions but Spotify do not have (e.g. Britten’s Curlew River). What started out as an exercise to build a companion playlist to the chapter ended up, I think, too huge to be of use (with 664 tracks!), but here it is. Enjoy! http://open.spotify.com/user/dumbledad/playlist/7lRRFKUI1OExQvEDYiM6p3