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Five Modern Classical Pieces for Pop Listeners

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 — and on his blog, The Rest Is Noise.

Click here for Ross' list of the Top 5 Pop Albums for Classical Listeners.

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Alex Ross