This modest and unassuming book, purportedly an apology for- and explanation of- the role of the modern symphony conductor, turns out to be a singularly interesting account of the historical development of the modern orchestra. With excellent historical and biographical insights, it traces the rise from plain song, the era of the ""figured bass"", the cembalo, to the first real symphonic groupings of Monteverdi and Handel and the further development of this amazing instrument into the orchestra of Beethoven, Wagner and Berlioz. Some of the enlightening things Krueger has to say about the conductor are grouped at the beginning and end of the book, and his role- and requisites for that role- are clearly defined.... Without writing down to a popular level, this is a book that can be enjoyed by the amateur who will find his perceptions stimulated while not overtaxed. The growing interest in music today should widen the market.