Elizabeth Poston: her music and her influence

donate to the Elizabeth Poston Project here 

 

Each of our projects is individually funded. Elizabeth Poston left no money for the management of her musical estate and the publication of her music so we need to raise £100,000 through grants, sheet-music sales and donations, to be able to carry out the complex work detailed below.

We have no grant funding yet but as of 10th April 2024 we have raised £3,150 through sheet-music sales and direct donations since 1st August 2023 (including those to our CAF account which you can acess via our 'donate' button)!

Thank you to our wonderful supporters!

Sadly we have also had to sell some of Poston's original manuscripts which has helped raise a further £7,000. 

If you or your organisation would like to sponsor the publication of an unpublished musical work please contact Louise at poston@multitudeofvoyces.co.uk

See below our latest publications of Elizabeth Poston's work!

Order copies of Running Set: Spring (minimum order 8 copies)

Order copies of A Settled Rest (minimum order 8 copies)

Multitude of Voyces is honoured to be the executor of the copyright of the literary and musical archive of Elizabeth Poston. 

Many of her works have never seen performances beyond their premieres decades ago and our exciting new project will represent the most-extensive study and publication of her works to date. 

Our work will be carried out in memory of the late Simon Campion, Elizabeth Poston's dear friend and musical/literary executor.

 

In addition the charity is privileged to have been gifted the research of Dr John Alabaster. We shall continue to build on Dr Alabaster's research at his express request, working closely alongside the British Library and other archives which house music scores, correspondence and other literary content by Elizabeth Poston. We shall explore the historical context of Poston's published works and will develop links with those music publishers which retain the right to publish certain of her works.

Our new scores will be transcribed, co-edited and prepared by our Associate, Anna Williams, who will co-lead this project. All income raised through the sale of these scores will directly support the continuation of this project.

We shall be working to create links with the original commissioners of the works, and with those musicians who performed the premieres or who made historical recordings of the works in partnership with Elizabeth Poston. 

We hope to work with project partners including the Peter Warlock Society and other music trusts relating to Elizabeth Poston's musical friends and contemporaries and we welcome interest from any arts or heritage-based organisations whose charitable objects overlap with ours. 

 

We shall be seeking major funding for this project: funds are needed for: complex legal advice; the photography of many thousands of pages of music manuscripts; the preparation of a digital database of works and extant research; the transcription, editing and typesetting of the sheet-music; the publication of the sheet-music; partnership work with arts festivals to plan performances of the works; partnership work with professional musicians to provide an exemplar recording of works for public access; ongoing funds for the management and running of the Poston Project.

 

Please note that the entire musical and literary estate - both published and unpublished -  is subject to copyright until the end of 2057. All enquiries about the use of the music (including requesting or taking photographs of manuscripts or other material, the preparation of scores, performances and recordings) should be addressed to the trustees via poston@multitudeofvoyces.co.uk. Update: The British Library is undertaking conservation and cataloguing work of the music manuscripts and those papers will be unavailable for public access until summer 2024.

 

Manuscripts/letters/photos belonging to the estate but in the posession of private individuals may be returned to the estate via the the charity using the above email address. 

 

An extract from Poston's multi-part work An English Kalendar, which we hope to publish in 2025!

Order copies of The Lamb (minimum order 8 copies)

Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987) 

Elizabeth Poston, well known for her unique carol, Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, was a prolific composer, particularly of songs, producing a dozen or so meticulously researched song-books, as well as orchestral and chamber music, choral works and two operettas (altogether at least 920 works).   

Born in rural Hertfordshire, she was inspired by the sounds of the countryside, saying that songs were ‘always her first and permanent love’. Her adored home, Rooks Nest House, standing on the northern outskirts of Stevenage, in view of the Chilterns, was equally appreciated by E. M. Forster, who had spent much of his youth there.  He subsequently based his novel, Howards End on the house and its Poston inhabitants. Elizabeth had the moving experience of writing the incidental music for its 1970 BBC film production, as she also did for that of his Room with a View and some 65 other BBC commissions. 

She had a long association with the BBC: even as a student her compositions were broadcast; in her early 30s during World War II, she was appointed Director of Music for the European Service, transmitting coded messages in the form of precisely-timed recorded music; after the war she helped to set up the BBC Third Programme, served on the BBC Advisory Panel and broadcast as a pianist and gave talks, including two notable series on her close friend, the composer Peter Warlock, who loved fifteenth and sixteenth century texts as she did – ‘the music of the words’.

(C) Dr John S. Alabaster author: Elizabeth Poston: Catalogue of Works with Biographical Context (Alabaster, J. S., 2018)

reproduced with permission 

 

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