“As life nears its end, thoughts can acquire urgent clarity. [It] is so evident among playwrights, composers, and visual artists that `late style’ has become an accepted critical concept.”


I’m sure anyone reading this was already aware of the concept, but I was not.

What links these composers, as Mr Biss points out, is that “with each of them, something has happened to completely change their style”.

What is that something? It seems to be an amalgam of circumstance and psychology, and no composer exemplifies this more vividly than Beethoven. Deafness to the world of real sound gave Beethoven the freedom to create hitherto undreamed-of new sound-worlds, and that played into his vaulting ambition to address posterity.

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