The female exotic: Tradition, innovation and authenticity in the reception of music by Judith Weir

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    Abstract

    Judith Weir's music embraces the unusual, from libretti drawing on the medieval past to fantastic narratives set within diverse stylistic frames. Her musical language has been praised and criticised in almost equal measure for its versatility and humour. Weir's music seems tied to the musical past, but in ways so divergent between pieces that critics struggle to engage with it as fully as with the music of other British composers of recent decades. Focusing on several works, I explore the often fraught sense of historical subjectivity in Weir's music and its reception. I also examine the critical discourse relating to Weir's music, in particular works based on historical or non-Western stimuli, arguing that these texts (even the words of the composer herself) are tied closely to a historical line that continues to feel anxious about the creative powers of women composers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-289
    Number of pages13
    JournalContemporary Music Review
    Volume29
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

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