Music: Composer, Soviet-Style

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In the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the intermission had just ended.

It was exactly 9:30 p.m. A woman announcer in a black dress stepped to the platform. Said she: "In the name of the fatherland there will be a salute to the gallant warriors of the First Ukrainian front who have broken the defenses of the Germans — 20 volleys of artillery from 224 guns." The dark days of Stalingrad were over; the Polish offensive of January 1945 had begun.

As she spoke, the first distant volley shook the hall. A...

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