Bang the brasses--a biography-with-background so intellectually stimulating that it transcends its immediate informational function. With minimal recourse to the standard ploy of anticipating his subject's future, Mr. Dobrin characterizes each circumstance so deftly that Copland develops naturally to his present eminence. Here is the balanced stability of a Jewish immigrant family; the sudden, exciting discovery of music; the cultural vitality of Paris in the '20's, and the camaraderie; the contrasts of quiet and clamor in New York as counterpoint to composition; with Carlos Chavez in Mexico, with Paul Bowles in Morocco, with Harold Clurman in and out of the theater--and informed appreciation of the influence of Nadia Boulanger and Koussevitsky. Through the comings-and-goings, the conversations, the concerts attended and brief profiles of the compositions, emerges the musical history of the mid-century, especially in America, with appropriate attention to Copland's work for radio, films, ballet and modern dance as well as the concert hall. The author concludes by introducing the reader to Copland's own writings; surely many youngsters will want to hear more and learn more.