Elizabeth Poston

~ Person


Elizabeth Poston (24 October 1905 – 18 March 1987) was an English composer, pianist, and writer.

Poston was born in Highfield House in Pin Green, which is now the site of Hampson Park in Stevenage. In 1914, she moved with her mother, Clementine Poston, to nearby Rooks Nest House, where E.M. Forster had lived as a child. Poston and Forster subsequently became good friends. She studied at Queen Margaret's School, York, and then at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London, where she was encouraged by both Peter Warlock and Ralph Vaughan Williams. She won a prize from the RAM for her violin sonata, which was subsequently broadcast by the BBC. When she graduated from the RAM in 1925, seven of her songs were published, and in 1928 she published five more. Poston went abroad between 1930 and 1939, where she studied architecture and collected folksongs. When she returned to England at the beginning of WWII she joined the BBC and became director of music in the European Service. She left briefly in 1945, but returned in 1947 to advise on the creation of the BBC Third Programme. Poston was the president of the Society of Women Musicians 1955–61.

Poston composed scores for radio and television productions – over 40 for radio alone – and collaborated with C. S. Lewis, Dylan Thomas, and other writers. She wrote the score for the television production of Howards End while living in Rooks Next House, and which was the setting for the novel.

In addition to composing, Poston was an academic. She wrote articles and program notes for the Arts Council of Great Britain and was the editor of a number of folksong carol and hymn collections. In 1947 she created a five-part lecture series on Peter Warlock for the BBC. Her carols, especially Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, remain widely performed. She was also a respected performer, premiering Walter Leigh’s Concertino for piano and strings and playing the piano at National Gallery Concerts.

Poston continued to live at Rooks Nest House until her death at the age of 81 in 1987.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1986 James Galway's Christmas Carol James Galway 2
1986 Christmas Carols From St. John's The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge 1
1994 In Praise of Woman Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Graham Johnson 2
1994 Christmas with the Academy Academy and Chorus of St Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner 1
1998 The Mystery of Christmas (The Elora Festival Singers feat. director Noel Edison and organist Michael Bloss) Various Artists 1
2001 Advent to Christmas (Marlborough College Chapel Choir) Various Artists 1
2003 Dejlig er jorden Helligåndskirkens Kor, Hans Christian Hein 1
2006 Music from Midnight Mass at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Various Artists 1
2010 BBC Music, Volume 19, Number 3: A Choral Christmas Rodolfus Choir 1
2012 Journey Into Light: Music for Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas The Choir of Jesus College Cambridge, Mark Williams 1
2014 James Galway: The Man With the Golden Flute: The Complete RCA Album Collection James Galway 1
Faire Is The Heaven The Cambridge Singers 1
Miserere and Other Spiritual Classics (Choir of King's College, Cambridge) Various Artists 1
The Holly and the Ivy The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1995 Treasures of English Church Music The Cambridge Singers, John Rutter 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2006 Octarium Octarium 1

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