Britten's Unquiet Pasts

Britten's Unquiet Pasts : Sound and Memory in Postwar Reconstruction

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Examining the intersections between musical culture and a British project of reconstruction from the 1940s to the early 1960s, this study asks how gestures toward the past negotiated issues of recovery and renewal. In the wake of the Second World War, music became a privileged site for re-enchanting notions of history and community, but musical recourse to the past also raised issues of mourning and loss. How was sound figured as a historical object and as a locus of memory and magic? Wiebe addresses this question using a wide range of sources, from planning documents to journalism, public ceremonial and literature. Its central focus, however, is a set of works by Benjamin Britten that engaged both with the distant musical past and with key episodes of postwar reconstruction, including the Festival of Britain, the Coronation of Elizabeth II and the rebuilding of Coventry more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2 b/w illus. 1 table 31 music examples
  • 1139574663
  • 9781139574662

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Music and cultural renewal; 2. 'Today on Earth the Angels Sing': carols in wartime; 3. Realizing Purcell; 4. Gloriana and the 'new Elizabethans'; 5. Noye's Fludde and the rituals of lost faith; 6. Ghosts in the ruins: the War Requiem at more

Review quote

'Fascinating ...' The Times Literary Supplement 'Unfailingly readable ...' Musical Timesshow more

About Heather Wiebe

Heather Wiebe is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Virginia. A member of the editorial board of The Opera Quarterly, she has published widely on twentieth-century music, British musical culture and more