Music: No. 4

Pennsylvania-born Peter Mennin is something of a phenomenon among U.S. composers: at 25, he has already had three symphonies performed, and he is not a bit complacent about it. With a grin, he dismisses his first symphony, composed at 17, as "too damn long." He says, "Let's just forget about the Second"—even though it won the Gershwin and Beams prizes in 1945.

Mennin's Third ("the so-called popular one," he calls it) has been played in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and in Sweden, and got first-string Manhattan critics out two years ago. The New York Times noted "a conspicuous advance."

Sounds Impractical. Last week, a Carnegie...

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