Music: Shostakovich's Eighth

Like most Russian composers—and unlike his fellows in capitalist countries—Dmitri Shostakovich works for a corporation. Its headquarters are a modern redbrick combination office and apartment house just off Gorki Street in the center of Moscow. It is known as the Union of Soviet Composers, abbreviated to Musfund. Its board of directors are Russia's biggest musical bigwigs, some of them composers of distinction. When Musfund wants a symphony written, it gets a composer, sets a deadline (usually about a year away), gives an advance. A good job earns fat sums. The corporation also...

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