Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Britten's Unquiet Pasts
Sound and Memory in Postwar Reconstruction


Part of Music since 1900

  • Date Published: October 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521194679

£ 67.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • 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 Cathedral.

    • Proposes new ways of understanding uses of the national past in mid-century modernity
    • Reveals relationships between Britten's music, arts institutions and the pressing social and cultural issues of postwar Britain
    • Provides an account of music's importance in the early welfare state to give a new perspective on the arts in Britain and the role of public funding
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Fascinating …' The Times Literary Supplement

    'Unfailingly readable …' Musical Times

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521194679
    • length: 250 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 1 table 31 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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 Coventry.

  • Author

    Heather Wiebe, University of Virginia
    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 opera.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.