This article analyzes Benjamin Britten's late works through the lenses of late style discourse and theories of aging, showing how these final compositions can be read as a reflection of the ways in which Britten's illness and physical disability in the last years of his life prematurely ushered the composer into 'old age' and its attendant physical and psychological difficulties. From Death in Venice on, Britten's compositions display an unmistakable preoccupation with mortality, both in terms of subject matter and in terms of an even further finessed concision of musical style. While the stylistic decisions in these last works cannot be divorced from Britten's very real sense and eventual acceptance of the nearness of his own death, neither can they be wholly accounted for by it, marking as they do an undiminished capacity for creative achievement in the midst of significantly diminished physical capabilities.


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pp. 893-908
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