This book looks at Polish music since 1937 and its interaction with political and cultural turmoil. In Part I musical developments are placed in the context of the socio-political upheavals of inter-war Poland, Nazi occupation, and the rise and fall of the Stalinist policy of socialist realism (1948-54). Part II investigates the nature of the 'thaw' between 1954 and 1959, focusing on the role of the 'Warsaw Autumn' Festival. Part III discusses how composers reacted to the onset of serialism by establishing increasingly individual voices in the 1960s. In addition to a discussion of 'sonorism' (from Penderecki to Szalonek), it considers how different generations responded to the modernist aesthetic (Bacewicz and Lutoslawski, Baird and Serocki, Gorecki and Krauze). Part IV views Polish music since the 1970s, including the issue of national identity and the arrival of a talented generation and its ironic, postmodern slant on the past.