"Though Henry Cowell...was a composer and a music critic of startling originality (as well as a producer, a promoter, a publisher and an ethnomusicologist), he has remained largely a 'background figure' in American music. But editor Dick Higgins' Essential Cowell: Selected Writings on Music promises to bring Cowell's criticism into the spotlight. Gathering together essays on Stravinsky, Bartók, John Cage and many other composers, as well as selections from Cowell's unpublished opus, The Nature of Melody..., this volume will enlighten aficionados of World Music and engage anyone interested in innovative composition."
-- Publishers Weekly 10/29/01
"...Cowell was a pioneer of experimental music and influenced composers like John Cage....The late [Dick] Higgins, an artist, publisher, and composer who studied with Cowell at New York City's New School, collected these 46 essays by Cowell. Included are eighteen studies of fellow musicians and composers, from Charles Ives to Béla Bartók; a section on world music; and essays on musical craft, theory, and history. ...[His] writing is accessible and perceptive, and even those without extensive knowledge of 20th-century music will find these pieces engaging. Recommended for music and large public libraries."
-- Library Journal 11/1/01
"Henry Cowell was one of the most important figures in the history of American music in the 20th century, and this collection of his writings is a welcome addition to our knowledge of that history."
-- Professor James Tenney, California Institute of the Arts