Fewer than 40 composers in the whole history of music fall, apparently, within David Ewen's view of the great. Each of his choices commands a chapter, ranging chronologically from Palestrina to Debussy (which of course means that presumably nothing significant has happened since, roughly, 1924 -- no Stravinsky, Schonberg, Bartok, Strauss, and so on). The first sections of the chapters are devoted to biographical material, not all of which bears out other musicologists' testimony already in print. The second and third sections, by-lined by notables like Heinrich Heine, George Sand, Olin Downes, Deems Taylor, Bruno Walter, and a host of lesser names, are actually extracts from a long list of books that have had ample circulation and many of which are still available. The second section describes the composer as a personality, the third, as an artist. The fourth Section is perhaps the strangest of all, consisting of brief quotations from the composers' own words, but offering no clue to the nature of the occasions on which they were expressed. Appendices list collective and individual biographies of the same men, biographical notes on the contributors to this volume, and copyrights and sources of the material being used. David Ewen is the author of the extremely useful Encyclopedia of the Opera and other books. He presumably believes there is a potential audience for this type of anthology. At this price, it is possible to doubt it.