Past Tense: Creative Medievalism in the Music of Margaret Lucy Wilkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This essay examines a number of key works by British composer Margaret Lucy Wilkins, whose music regularly engaged with medievalism its inspiration, choice of texts, musical borrowing, and in the composer’s broader evocation of historical practices and architecture. Through analysis of pieces composed across two decades, the discussion confronts several tensions between Wilkins’ reception of the medieval past and her emphatically modern aesthetic. Focusing on four pieces—Witch Music (1971), Ave Maria (1974), Revelations of the Seven Angels (1988), and Musica Angelorum (1991)—this essay shows how Wilkins’s medievalism manifests an ambivalent relationship with central compositional aesthetics of the twentieth century such as serialism and modernism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Music and Medievalism
EditorsStephen C. Meyer, Kirsten Yri
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9780190658441, 0190658444
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2020

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press


Cite this

Colton, L. (2020). Past Tense: Creative Medievalism in the Music of Margaret Lucy Wilkins. In S. C. Meyer, & K. Yri (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music and Medievalism (pp. 301-326). (Oxford Handbooks). New York: Oxford University Press.