Oxford, UK ; Cambridge, Mass., USA : Blackwell, 1996.
xix, 361 p. ; 23 cm.

This is a readable and easy-to-use guide to contemporary music and its availability on record. Brian Morton describes the life and work of seventy-four leading composers. For each he selects and introduces one representative recording, and then indicates how this initial selection can be broadened and extended to other works. Full discographical details are given in all cases. The book is divided chronologically, and can be equally used as a guide or as a history. As a way of orientating the reader towards the variety and creativity of recent music, Brian Morton begins with a list of recordings of ten key works from the first half of the century that have had a profound influence on the music of the second half. He then discusses works by composers from all over the world: few readers will fail to make new discoveries from among his selection. In describing the composers' work and its musical context, he assumes no specialist knowledge, and provides a glossary of those terms - such as "atonality" and "serialism" - that have been closely associated with the contemporary repertoire. He gives suggestions for further reading on the composers' work as a whole or on the particular works in question. In the bibliography he selects a core library for those interested in finding out more about the music of the period.