BENJAMIN BRITTEN: Biography extract – was the composer’s death caused by syphilis?:

HOWARD3

"In the history of art,” observed the philosopher Theodor Adorno mischievously, “late works are the catastrophes.” Not disasters: catastrophes — a spectacular subversion of an artist’s oeuvre, all within the context of a sense of mortality overtaking the individual. The final period is necessarily ruptured from the earlier: carefully sculptured works of youth and maturity make way for pieces branded with tears and fissures as proof of a recklessness or powerlessness in the face of inevitable demise.

-THE TELEGRAPH

 

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