Then again, maybe Duttin is a nice house; at least, it has produced a most unusual and delectable book for amateur singers and lover of musical suriosities: The Book of Rounds, edited by Mary Catherine Taylor and Carol Dyk (Dutton,$14.95). The Publishers claim it is "the most comprehensive collection of rounds to be published in more than fifty years," and the 292 pages of the book support that claim eloquently. The songs, also known as "catches" and, incorrectly but prvasively, as "glees," are technical ly simple fugues, "cannons in the unison," designed so that their various sections can be sung simultaneously with a pleasing effect. "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," "Frmere Jacques" and "Three Blind Mice" (all included) are the best-known, but this collection uearths hundreds of others, many of high quality and some with words as clever as the music.
A few are composed by such notables as Beethoven, Mozart and Purcell; most are anonymous. So diverse is the range of contents that the book is divided into 20 categories of subject matter. Many are religious, some bawdy, a few innocent when simply sung through but bawdy when the different lines are sung together. Chacun ma son gout.