Elizabeth Poston: TRIO (CR065)

Review by Dave McDade, MusicWeb International

Listen and buy now on Convivium Records

This engaging release comes in the form of a digital single only but demonstrates that often good things come in small packages. Poston was best known for writing for BBC television and radio and for her carols, but this treasurable chamber work shows off her range to good effect. The combination of instruments, whilst unusual, works extremely well and clearly the composer was inspired by the possibilities thrown up by it. I was frequently reminded of Britten’s writing for The Turn of the Screw though the mood of Poston’s piece is more sunny and pastoral.

The piece is cast in four short movements with the final Vivace giving way to a more plaintive epilogue before a final flourish.

It opens in rather Debussyan mood and with more than a hint of mystery. There is a subtle tang to the dissonances too – this isn’t blandly pretty music. Throughout there is a rather muted but spiky humour at play but also darker shadows.

The slow second movement is full of languor and longing. Poston the effective writer of carols crafts a genuinely memorable melody for the opening. There is a ballad like feel to proceedings and Poston scores everything with great finesse. The ending of the movement is hauntingly lovely.

The third movement gives Britten a run for his money in terms of evoking fairyland. The harp writing in particular shows rare imagination before disappearing into the ether.

Convivium wrap the Korros Ensemble up in warm, resonant sound that allows the harp in particular to glitter against a generous acoustic and put us in their debt for their imaginative programming.

I picked this release up out of idle curiosity about a composer I didn’t recognise and was, as I am sure can be told, delighted and surprised by what I found. This may not be a heavy weight work but, in its own unpretentious way, it works wonders. It definitely made me wonder what other delights lie lingering in drawers and cupboards from her pen. I hope there is an album’s worth somewhere.

Dave McDade, MusicWeb International, January 2022

Further information

MusicWeb International

Musicweb International

MusicWeb International was founded by Dr Len Mullenger in 1995, as a website for the William Alwyn Society. It was hosted on the servers of the University of Coventry. From these humble beginnings it has developed, purely on a volunteer basis, into the largest non-commercial classical music resource on the web.

Every weekday they post new classical CD and DVD reviews (usually 10). There are more than 40,000 in the archive. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail.

MusicWeb is not a subscription site and is kept free by encouraging sales through their partners.

Visit website: MusicWeb International

Convivium Records

Convivium Records

Convivium Records (est. 2009) is committed to working with exceptional artists and composers to record and share their music. It recognises that a great recording project needs to establish a balance between artistic aspirations and commercial expectations. In addition to commercial releases, the label takes on private projects for schools, charities and other institutions.

Convivium Records involves musicians and composers in all decisions relating to their projects. For instance, this may include initial discussions about a new album, to recording, distribution, promotion and marketing.

At the heart of Convivium Records is a dedicated team, each of whom bring their expertise to projects as required. Above all, the Label’s ambition is to exceed the expectations of their clients by creating recordings that reflect their true potential.

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