Our life is nothing but a winter’s day
As the tree falls
Elizabeth Maconchy (1907-94) was a composer of great versatility and unfailing integrity, amply deserving of a British critic’s description of her as ”one of the most substantial composers these islands have yet produced”. Born to Irish parents in Hertfordshire, she grew up in rural Ireland, playing the piano and writing music from the age of six. She studied at the Royal College of Music with Vaughan Williams, who remained a lifelong friend; but she was attracted less by English pastoralism than by the central European modernism of Bartók and Janáček, and she completed her studies with K.B. Jirák in Prague.