When I was writing my long piece on Doctor Atomic last summer, I listened again to Benjamin Britten's towering setting of the Holy Sonnets of John Donne, wondering whether there was any resemblance between Britten's version of "Batter My Heart" and Adams's great aria for Robert Oppenheimer, based on the same poem. I couldn't hear any obvious links, although Adams's use of a chaconnelike form seemed in some way a nod in Britten's direction. I gave no more thought to it. Just now, looking through the catalogue of Britten's published works, I came across a list of the dates on which the Donne songs were composed. As usual, Britten worked with astonishing speed, spending no more than a day on each one. The date for "Batter My Heart"? August 6th, 1945. Happy new year!