Music critic of The New Yorker collects many of his weekly columns, from 1949 to 1957, and offers intelligent, personal and considered reactions rather than ironclad appraisals. His introduction analyzes the critic's intent, the triangle of composer, performer and audience, the ""athletic"" and technical testing points which can be exactly evaluated and the questions of taste and opinion which are less exact in examination. He goes on to detail the weaknesses of contemporary music and present the case against formalism:- all of this adding up to a succinct music lecture. His chronological writings cover concerts, operas, conductors, composers, performances, orchestras, from very good to very bad; he includes a tour of summer music festivals in Florence, Vienna, Salzburg, Bayreuth, Munich and Venice; he is as concerned with the enjoyment and enchantment of listening an the lack of it and his awareness of the many-faceted world of music is not distorted by a soft approach. Interesting for a backward look and a forward style.