Aaron Copland is primarily a composer, not a writer; by his own admission he reacts to music more completely than to word-ideas. Yet he manages very well to convey, with directness and sensitivity, a broad historical perspective on what is happening in the musical world today. ""Musical composition during the first half of our century"", he says, ""was vigorously alive partly because of the amount of controversy it was able to arouse"". He has assembled, for the permanent record, a collection of his earlier essays, speeches, and articles, together with some valuable new material, to illustrate why he believes this controversy should not be allowed to wither, leaving modern music to the apathetic and the jazz buffs. ""Every concert"", he proposes, ""should deliberately have an element challenging to an audience"". He emphatically denies the prevalent notion that contemporary music has dwindling box-office power. ""If nobody likes modern music, why do the record makers foolishly continue to issue it?"" He cites statistics concerning performances, publication, and broadcasting of works by Britten, Schonberg, and their peers; he delves into the popularity of Latin American modernists; he explores the contrasting values of the classics and their meaning to present-day composers. Above all, he states, ""We badly need an enlarged system of musical symbols to serve our greater rhymthic complexities"". With this book he has carefully paved the way for the very necessary re-evaluation of the concert scene that must soon come if contemporary music is to take shape as a vital force among composers and audiences alike.