Why did so many of music’s great symphonists die after completing their ninth symphony? This week’s theme is the curse of the ninth symphony which began with Beethoven in the mid-1820s. Over time, the myth grew that when writing your ninth symphony, it would be your last and perhaps also your last year on earth. Beethoven’s ninth symphony is a massive work and takes over an hour to perform. We’ll sample five landmark compositions: the ninth symphonies of Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner, Dvorak, and Mahler.