The book of modern composers 10/06/1950
New Editions THE BOOK OF MODERN COMPOSERS. Second edition, re vised and enlarged. Edited by Da vid Ewen. Knopf. $8. Two composers Benjamin Brit ten and Walter Piston have been added to the original 29 of the first edition. The editor tells us in his preface that he has gone back to the method used in his book, "From Bach To Stravinsky," of using the writers best qualified "to discuss the different phases of modern music." Most of the articles on the individual composers follow an identical pattern of presenting a couple of pages of biographical matter, a "personal note" by someone someone who knows or has known the composer "to speak to" and, wher ever possible, a word from the composer himself. Following all this, the essay by the authority in question. By way of introduc tion Nicolas Stonlmsky reduces the styles and techniques of mod ern music to kindergarten level. Most important of all are the bib liographies and dlscographies in the appendices, for a book of this sort Is primarily one of reference and its information should be right up to the minute. There is no excuse excuse therefore omitting such facts as that Bohuslav Martinu is Pro fessor of Musical Composition at Princeton University or that Paul Hindemith last year occupied the Charles Eliott Norton chair of poetry at Harvard University. Frederick Yeiser.