Music: Shostakovich's Ninth

As a symphonist, Dmitri Shostakovich was now up to Beethoven—in quantity.* Last week his new Ninth Symphony was tried out in Moscow, in the manner the U.S.S.R. now decrees: at a private hearing of musicians.

The latest by Shostakovich, who is co-star of Soviet music with Serge Prokofieff, is a "Victory" symphony, to complete his war trilogy which began with the brassy, repetitious Seventh ("Leningrad"). It has an unorthodox five instead of four movements, but is shorter (25 minutes) than most symphonies. Shostakovich, who wrote it in ten weeks after three false starts, was afraid his frail little Ninth would not...

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