Singing in the Age of Anxiety: A Book at Lunchtime

Book at Lunchtime title and TORCH logo against a backdrop of books

About the book

In New York and London during World War I, the performance of lieder—German art songs—was roundly prohibited, representing as they did the music and language of the enemy. But as German musicians returned to the transatlantic circuit in the 1920s, so too did the songs of Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf, and Richard Strauss. Lieder were encountered in a variety of venues and media—at luxury hotels and on ocean liners, in vaudeville productions and at Carnegie Hall, and on gramophone recordings, radio broadcasts, and films. Laura Tunbridge explores the renewed vitality of this refugee musical form between the world wars, offering a fresh perspective on a period that was pervaded by anxieties of displacement. Through richly varied case studies, Singing in the Age of Anxiety traces how lieder were circulated, presented, and consumed in metropolitan contexts, shedding new light on how music facilitated unlikely crossings of nationalist and internationalist ideologies during the interwar period.

About the author

Laura Tunbridge is Professor of Music and Henfrey Fellow and Tutor, St Catherine's College, at the University of Oxford. Editor of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association from 2013-2018, in 2017 she was elected to the Directorium of the International Musicological Society. Laura’s research has concentrated on German Romanticism, with a particular interest in reception through criticism, performance, and composition. Among her publications are the books Schumann’s Late Style(Cambridge, 2007) and The Song Cycle (Cambridge, 2010).

About the Event

Laura will be joined an expert panel to discuss the book and its themes:

Dr Benjamin Walton (Jesus, Cambridge)

Professor Kate McLoughlin (Harris Manchester, Oxford)

Chaired by: Professor Philip R. Bullock (Wadham, Oxford)


Lunch provided from 12.30pm. Discussion from 1-2pm.

Booking is essential. Register via Eventbrite.

Part of Book at Lunchtime, a fortnightly series of bite-sized book discussions, with commentators from a range of disciplines.


Public Engagement with Research

Humanities & Identities

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Audience: Open to all