Music: Backward from Decadence

Throughout his remarkably productive career, Dmitry Shostakovich has produced two entirely different kinds of music: "decadent, bourgeois, neurotic'' works that stand in the first rank of contemporary composition, and ideologically pure, "democratic" works that stand almost nowhere at all. Ever since 1948, when he was chastised by the Central Committee of the Communist party for "decadence," Shostakovich's ideology has been improving and his music generally getting worse. Last week, disheveled and stoop-shouldered at 55, he made his way to the stage of the Moscow Conservatory to acknowledge the applause for his Twelfth...

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