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.