Music: Composition by the Numbers

Borrowing from your own, or some other nation's, storehouse of folk music is an old composer's trick. Dvorak and Puccini used U.S. tunes. Tchaikovsky not only reworked Russia's own Song of the Volga Boatmen but borrowed a bar or two from Italian music. Ravel, Chabrier and Rimsky-Korsakov took from the Spanish; Aaron Copland from the Mexicans. Last week the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. decided to work each other's musical gold mines officially.

The American-Soviet Music Society gave visiting Soviet Journalist Ilya Ehrenburg five earthy old U.S. ballads for Soviet composers to work from....

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