Naxos, long known for its catalogue of classical recordings and its appropriation of that music as accompaniment for spoken-word recordings, turns the tables a bit for this Junior Classics selection. Alsop, a well-known and respected conductor, takes the reins here, talking about the music she loves. Henley's text blends a historic time line, replete with facts about the Magna Carta, the bubonic plague and the industrial revolution, together with a colorful who's who of composers, spotlighting more than 90 artists. All the usual suspects are here-Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, etc.-as are more contemporary composers like John Cage and Philip Glass. Alsop's easygoing approach works well as she serves as a welcoming tour guide offering fun facts and interesting biographical sketches for listeners. Each era of history and composer's bio is paired with famous, representative snippets of music-150 in all-performed by world-class musicians. A fourth enhanced CD in the package contains such extras as quizzes, sheet music, photos and ancillary articles. Ages 8-up. (Oct. 2004) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.