Companion volume to Schonberg's Great Pianists (and Pleasants' Great Singers). The Great Conductors is ""an attempt to present, in continuous evolution, the musical attitudes and techniques"" of the same. It reads along with composure at an accessibly popular level for casual-to-confirmed music lovers, to whom much of this will already be familiar. The man who is ""at once a father image, the great provider, the fount of inspiration, the teacher who knows all"" is primarily a leader, but only since the nineteenth century has his first function been interpretive. Before that he was a ""beating machine."" Mr. Schonberg's group portrait includes the exceptions (Monteverdi, Lully, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.), focuses further on Wagner (""the strongest conducting force of the century""), Mendelssohn, Strauss, Weingartner. On to Toscanini with his ""fluoroscopic conducting,"" his search for musical perfection, and the other modern greats, down to Bernstein and after, what Mr. Schonberg terms The New Eclecticism. Anecdotal, informative...andante con moto.