Rainie, Priaulx


RAINIER, Ivy Priaulx 


b. Howick, Natal, 3 February 1903

d. Besse-en-Chandesse, France, 10 October 1986


Although she spent most of her adult life in Britain, Priaulx Rainier felt that her roots were firmly in South Africa. It was actually the sounds and atmosphere of her childhood years which proved to be a source of reference throughout her life. Ivy Priaulx Rainier was the third of five children. The others were: Peter William, born in 1890, Ellen Florence Dorothy (better known as Nella), born in 1892 and Eveline Howard, born in 1898. A younger sister, Winifred Yolland was born in 1905. Her father, William Gregory, was born on 17 December 18581 in Southampton. Although little is known about him, the family ancestry can be traced as far back as AD 750. The 1903 CA Calvert and JH Rainier publication Genealogy of the Rainier Family, Ancestors in Male Line of the Rainiers according to Ms in Bib R a Paris contains a special section devoted to the British and South African branch of the family. Ellen Howard, his wife, was born on 21 April 18672 at Hemel Hampstead near London. She was the only girl and youngest of a family of seven children. 


Priaulx’s Cape Town sojourn, where she studied at the newly-founded South African College of Music, was influenced by her violin teachers Winifred Leffler, Ellie Marx and William Henry ('Daddy') Bell. Under his guidance she played string quartets from the age of eleven on a regular basis. Although not a student of Bell, he did exercise a tremendous influence on all the students of the College; his influence upon her was lasting. To her the activities at the College were by far the richest she had had in her training. 


Royal Academy of Music 

After winning an Overseas Scholarship from the University of South Africa in 1919, Rainier went to London and continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Music3. Her violin teachers were Hans Wesseley (a former pupil of Kreissler) and Rowsby Woof. She had the great fortune of going to JB McEwen4 for harmony and counterpoint. At the same time, the violist Lionel Tertis was appointed to form string quartets and to take charge of chamber music. Her first visit back to South Africa was in order to to recuperate from a nervous breakdown. In 1922 the names of Priaulx and Walter Swanson5, who settled in South Africa much later, appeared amongst the first violins who performed at a Student’s Concert in Queen’s Hall, London. 


Early Career 

After having completed her LRAM diploma, Priaulx had to earn a living. In 1925 she was offered a post teaching violin and aural training at Badminton School, Bristol - a school which Indira Ghandi attended. She never wanted to return to South Africa, because she felt that she had too much too absorb and too many opportunities to extend herself. Edith Sitwell once said to her:’You’ve got to be amongst people who keep “shopping up” your brain.’ Priaulx could see that this would not be possible in South Africa, as she was well aware of the cultural environment and development through her regular contact with family and friends. Circumstances demanded that she earn a living as a teacher and violinist, so there was little time for composing. There were opportunities for quartet and quintet playing, especially at society ‘at homes’. She met the violinist Orrea Pernel at the Society of Women Musicians and they eventually formed a quartet with Winnifred Copperwheat (viola) and Gene Milne. They performed for about three years on a regular basis. 


At about this time her cousin Aubrey Rainier6, who was first enrolled at Walen’s Cello School, London, became a pupil of Professor Ivor James of the Royal College of Music. He gave his first full-scale Wigmore Hall recital accompanied by Gerald Moore on the pianoforte, at the age of eight. 


When Priaulx was about thirty she was involved in a serious motorcar accident which forced her to stop her private teaching. Strangely, it was always physical accidents in her life that made her change her direction.


First Compositions

During this period she wrote a Duo for piano and violin which was performed in the Wigmore Hall on 30 April 1936 by Orrea Pernel and Harriet Cohen. It was the first public performance of her work. It was also Orrea Pernel who encouraged Priaulx to begin composing seriously. A small grant enabled her to write Three Greek Epigrams, a Concert Study for Pianoforte and a String Quartet without having contact with anyone to discuss the ethics and essence of music and composition. In the summer of 1936 Priaulx met Merete Söderhjelm, a Finnish pianist who studied with Nadia Boulanger and who suggested she too should have lessons with Boulanger. Priaulx went to Paris and showed Madame Boulanger the Three Greek Epigrams and three movements of the String Quartet. Boulanger was very interested in the work, but thought that Priaulx had so many ideas that she would be  overwhelmed by them. Then, in 1937, Rainier went to Paris for two months and had special ‘conversation’ lessons with Nadia Boulanger which cleared her mind as to the direction for future composition. In Paris she met David Gascoyne, whom she had known from London. Many years later he wrote the text for her Requiem.


From 1939

She was very anxious for an opportunity to hear her works and in 1939 a friend made this possible by offering her the use of her beautiful house for a concert. Amongst other works her String Quartet was played by the Gertler Quartet from Brussels. War broke out and that was the end of performances for many years. Priaulx went through a very difficult time. First she had to give up violin playing and then when composition was just beginning to make headway, war broke out and everyone’s life was disrupted and disorganised. The String Quartet was sent to practically every quartet in England with the hope that the work would be performed, but nobody took any notice and publishers turned the work down, denouncing it as too advanced. At the beginning of the war she did various jobs, such as working for the Red Cross, helping foreign prisoners at St James’s Palace and harvesting in Hertfordshire.


String Quartet

The String Quartet was the work which really drew attention to Priaulx as a composer. The first public performance was on 3 July 1944 at Mr Gerald Cooper’s Concert Series in the Wigmore Hall by the Zorian Quartet. It was Michael Tippet who suggested that she should send the String Quartet for consideration for publication to Schott, his publishers. She did so, and it was published.  Schott remained her publisher throughout her career. 


In1944 the RAM approached her to teach there because of the reputation she had earned as a teacher of exceptional qualities. According to an official notification from the RAM she was appointed professor in harmony, although other sources also state that she was professor in composition. Amongst the ARAM elections in 1945 the names of Arnold van Wyk7 and Priaulx Rainier appear. 


An important friendship developed when Priaulx met Barbara Hepworth and her husband Ben Nicholson in 1946 through mutual friends in London. They invited her to spend a vacation with them at Carbis Bay, Cornwall. After that she went several times and rented a fishing loft where she could concentrate on her composition during vacation time. 


In the meantime the String Quartet became further known through performances in Paris, Brussels and Munich and several broadcasts in London and Zürich. An important performance was at the Edinburgh Festival when the performers were the Loewenguth Quartet. 


In 1948 she was appointed chamber music coach at William Glock’s new Summer School of Music at Bryanston, Dorset. This undertaking flourished and subsequently moved to Dartington, Devon, where it today receives international status. She met Stravinsky twice (1952 and 1957) at these Summer Schools.



Nineteen-fifty-two was a year of recognition. First she was made a Fellow of the RAM and then the Worshipful Company of Musicians awarded her the John Clementi Collard Fellowship. William Glock and Lennox Berkeley strongly supported her nomination. It was the first time that a women had received this honour. 


Rainier met Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten at the1952 Aldeburgh Festival when William Primrose (viola) and Noel Mewton-Wood (piano) performed her Sonata for viola and piano there. Her first proper commission came about 1953 when she wrote her Cycle for Declamation for Peter Pears. 


1953 - 60

The St Ives Festival of Music and Arts of 1953 was the brainchild of Barbara Hepworth, Priaulx Rainier and Michael Tippett. During the festival local artists agreed to open their studios to the townspeople for a special Festival Show Day. The film Cornwall and the Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth: Figures in a Landscape, with music by Priaulx Rainier was produced by the British Film Institute in 1953. It was selected for the British Entry in the Venice Festival and also shown at the Edinburgh and Venezuela Festivals in 1953 and 1954. Her contact with Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and other artists like Bernhard Leach broadened her horizons as a composer. She became deeply interested in both painting and sculpture and their influence on her work was perceived in many ways. Nicholson made her aware of linear movements and the relationship of form and colour. Hepworth stressed: ‘to say what one has to say with the greatest economy and, having said it, to let it stand on its own’.


Although David Gascoyne first spoke to Priaulx in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris in 1937 about his desire to write a long poem specifically for setting to music, he only finished the libretto in 1940 and it was not until 1945 that she felt able to write the music. When the Purcell Singers offered her a commission for a choral work, she decided to complete the Requiem for the Aldeburgh Festival of 1956. 



1960 - More Commissions and Productivity

A motor accident in St Ives terminated her work at the RAM. The compensation money she received after the accident enabled her to buy her own bungalow: Trêgrenna Step Studio, Bishops Road, the Belyars in St Ives. 


In March 1960 she completed a commission from the SABC - a Trio Suite for the Union Festival and she decided to see if she could manage without teaching. The same year the London Philharmonic Society commissioned Phalaphala to celebrate Sir Adrian Boult’s 10 year of directorship. She finally resigned from the RAM at the end of midsummer term 1961 and divided her time between St Ives and 75 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 2PD (where she had kept her working room, as she called it, since 1936). 


Without any teaching obligations, she began to write much more. Quanta made a great change in her approach to work. What she liked to do was to travel down to St Ives to start a work and to get all the ideas done. Once this was done she usually returned to London for various professional reasons and to carry on with the work. Quanta was the first work commissioned by the BBC and it was first performed at a BBC Invitation Concert on19 April 1962 by Janet Craxton (oboe) and The Oromonte Trio: Perry Hart (violin), Brain Hawkins (viola) and Kenneth Heath (cello). 


During 1962 Rainier arrived in South Africa, probably the first visit to the country of her birth since the early 1920's. She visited her sister Nella who was senior lecturer in piano at the College of Music until she retired. Rainier was always in the know about the cultural development and music activities of the country. She attended performances and recorded a talk for the SABC. Besides recordings of her works, live orchestral performances in South Africa are limited to Capab’s presentation of Phalaphala in 1973, a recording by the National Symphony Orchestra of the SABC conducted by Brian Priestman of Ploërmel in 1985, and Napac’s performance of Six Pieces for five wind instruments in 1987 by the Natal Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Michael Hankinson.


From 1964 to1972, Rainier served on the Board of the Examiners of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, but did very little examining and none overseas. Her second commission by the BBC, the Concerto for cello and orchestra was completed during the Summer of 1964 and performed by Jacqueline du Pré and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Norman Del Mar at a Royal Albert Hall Promenade Concert on 3 September 1964. A Suite for solo cello was composed over a span of two years. Joan Dickson gave the first performance on 7 January 1967. 


Aequora Lunae - Seas of the Moon, a seven movement suite,was commissioned for and first performed at the Cheltenham Festival by the BBC Symphony conducted by Norman Del Mar on 18 July 1967. It seems as if her creative output gained momentum and new works appeared regularly, although her compositions were not performed on a regular basis. She visited the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA for a concert of her compositions and to lecture at their Music Faculty. The Bee Oracles, commissioned for the 1970 Aldeburgh Festival and again sung by Peter Pears at the Bath Festival and Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1971,is set to the text from ‘The Bee-Keeper’ by Dame Edith Sitwell. 


Organ Gloriana, her first work for organ, was commissioned by the Cape Town organist Barry Smith, and was first performed by Christopher Bowers Broadbent at the Royal Festival Hall, London on 18 June 1972. Two further organ compositions, Primordial Canticles followed in 1974.


Seventy Years in 1973

Numerous performances of her compositions celebrated her seventieth birthday. 


On 1 February the SABC broadcast a special programme on the Afrikaans service. Later in February the BBC broadcast a retrospective concert of some of her chamber works. Calum MacDonald’s8 impression of this event is very apt: 


‘Rainier is a very desolate figure: a South African composer owing little, apparently, to any school, finding her own way forward, exploring her own world of eloquent dissonance. At a period when so much new music is dull, grubby ‘atonalism’, it is a relief to find a composer whose ability to ‘place’ every note in an athematic, totally chromatic context, produces music that is clear, stimulating and alive.’ 


Philip Langridge (tenor) and Gilbert Biberian (guitar) gave the first performance of Ubunzima in the Purcell Room on 22 March. This followed on 20 June by a performance of Rainier’s Suite for clarinet and piano by Thea King (clarinet) and Steuart Bedford (piano) on 20 June in a chamber music programme at the Maltings during the Aldeburgh Festival. The London Sinfonietta conducted by Elgar Howarth gave the first performance of Ploërmel9 in the Round House on 13 August. Another first performance was on 18 October when Raimund Gilvan (tenor) and his duo-partner Frederic Capon (piano), who commissioned Rainier to write the cycle Vision and Prayer, gave the world première of this work in the Great Hall of Lancaster University at a 70 th Anniversary Recital for Priaulx Rainier. 


After one of the rehearsals of The Bee Oracles, Colin Tilney introduced Dr Thomas Sherwood to Priaulx and he commissioned a work for harpsichord. The result was Quinque which had its first performance by Colin Tilney in the Purcell Room, London on 29 March 1974. 


The author’s first real awareness of the music of Rainier was on 14 January 1976 when he attended the first performance of the cycle Prayers from the Ark, sung by Peter Pears (tenor), accompanied by the Welsh harpist Osian Ellis in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. At that time the British Music Information Centre at 10 Stratford Place, London had an exhibition of her life and works. Starting on Sunday 4 January 1976, BBC Radio 3 broadcast the first of six programmes featuring the chamber music of Rainier. 


Due Canti e Finale 

It was Yehudi Menuhin’s wife, Diana, who suggested that he approach Rainier to write a violin concerto for him. It came like a bolt from the blue for Rainier, because she had heard Menuhin’s first performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto when he was a boy of about 13 or14. After a considerable amount of thought she felt she would be able to fulfil the commission, but could not do so immediately as she had other commissions to complete. The Violin Concerto , which she called Due Canti e Finale10 (two songs and a finale) was first performed by Yehudi Menuhin (violin) and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Groves at the 1977 Edinburgh Festival. This composition and especially the Edinburgh performance can be regarded as a climax in Rainier’s career. 


1978 - 82

Priaulx’s 75th Birthday passed seemingly unnoticed and it was only on 13 December that a special concert in the Purcell Room by the Park Lane group honoured the occasion. 


Contact with the Yehudi Menuhin School where she worked with students on her compositions which were performed in public, had a vitalizing effect on Priaulx and it was also very stimulating for the students. 


In 1979 the Arts Council of Britain granted her an award to enable her to write three works. Such an award at that age is unusual. 


Rainier’s visit to South Africa in 1979 was initiated by the Durban centre of the South African Society of Music Teachers. She visited Port Elizabeth, Durban, Howick (her ‘home town’ in Natal), Johannesburg and Cape Town. On one of these occasions the late Anton Hartman11 paid tribute to Rainier by remarking on the vigour, individuality, free use of rhythm and creative quality of her music. He also paid homage to her great success and stressed her undoubted international standard - a rare achievement by a South African composer. During her stay of just over a month she received wide press coverage and thus came to the notice of South African music lovers. 


During 1980 she did more travelling. First to Tenerife in March and then in May to France. In October she flew to Calgary, Canada to visit her nephew Peter and his family. The trip included a flight to Santa Barbara to attend the graduation ceremony of her great-nephew Christopher. 


On 12 November 1980 the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by Maurice Brett and conducted by Nicolas Cleobury, played Ploërmel at a BBC Radio 3 Invitation Concert at the RCM Hall. Priaulx12 felt that everything 


‘went off brilliantly ... Packed hall. An excellent idea to have these Contemp[orary] Concerts free. People go because of that - and find that contemporary music is not so fearsome, so new audiences are created.’ 


The major happening in1981 was definitely the première of the Concertante for two winds on 7 August, but prior to the highlight of the year, there were less important performances as well: The String Trio was scheduled for a performance in March in the Redcliffe Concerts of British music series, Sinfonia da Camera was scheduled for a broadcast by the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, led by Armin Jordan on 4 June and broadcast of Ploërmel on 12 June. Roham de Sarem (cello) gave the second performance of the Cello Concerto with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Downes at Studio 7, New Broadcasting House in Manchester. 


Thea King(clarinet) and Neil Black (oboe), who stepped in gracefully after the sudden death of Janet Craxton, were the soloists for the première of Concertanto for two winds with the BBC Scottish Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Groves at a BBC Promenade Concert. Rainier13 remarked: ‘I do not know why this piece seems to be much liked - perhaps more diatonic or because of the novelty of the soloists?’ 


Although she wrote early in January 1982 about the ‘dead period in front of me,’ that was not the case: the Concertante had a re-broadcast on 3 January and she was informed that the University of Cape Town would confer a DMus (honoris causa) on her. During March/April Christopher Keyte(bass-baritone) sang the Cycle of Declamation in Lisbon, Oporto and Funchal and in April Nigel Butterley introduced recordings and pre-recorded talks at an ABC programme in Australia. 


She was very excited about the forthcoming big event - the graduation ceremony in Cape Town. On 25 June Mr Harry Oppenheimer, Chancellor of UCT conferred honorary degrees to five distinguished South Africans at the mid-year graduation ceremony: Mr Justice MM Corbett of the Appeal Court; Prof A Krepps, internationally recognised expert on virus diseases; Prof JH Louw, for his contribution to paediatric surgery; Sir Richard Luyt, former principal of UCT for 13 years and Priaulx Rainier, internationally recognised composer.


Dr Stuart Saunders, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Cape Town presented a special Chamber Concert in honour of Priaulx Rainier in the Chisholm Recital Room on 25 June. She14 wrote back from London stating that ‘It was a most memorable time.’ Shortly after her return from South Africa, she lost her balance on the house stairs, pitched backwards and turned a somersault to the bottom of the stairs resulting in three fractured ribs.


In November she attended the annual performance of the Bach B minor Mass at the Yehudi Menuhin School.


Eighty Years Young

Priaulx’s eightieth year kicked off with the Park Lane Group Young Artists and Twentieth Century Music Series 1982-83 with Priaulx featuring as composer in tribute to her anniversary. Over 150 young musicians took part and 46 compositions were performed during the week 3 to 7 January 1983. The Suite for clarinet and piano, Barbaric Dance Suite, Cycle for Declamation and the Sonata for viola and piano were performed. Friends of Priaulx’s came together and organized a public concert to celebrate her 80th birthday in the Wigmore Hall. All the artists taking part had a close association with her music. The concert was preceded by a conversation between Priaulx Rainier and Roger Wright at the British Music Information Centre. About a week later the RAM presented an Eightieth Birthday Concert for Rainier in Duke’s Hall. 


During all the festivities she was busy with the Grand Duo and she found the pressure exhausting, having to press on after all the celebration. The dates set for the performances by Joan Dickson (cello) and Joyce Rathbone (piano) of the Grand Duo for cello and piano were: 12 May (Kettle Yard, Cambridge University), 30 May (Wigmore Hall), 3 June (Bath Festival) and 24 July (Dartington Summer School).


In mid June a new recording of Rainier’s String Quartet recorded by the Alard String Quartet from the Pennsylvania State University, was released. 


In October 1982 she was finally elected to the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. She had been admitted to the Freedom and become a Yeoman twenty years before, but it had not been the practice of a Worshipful Company to consider a female for the Livery. The climate changed slowly and Priaulx became the first woman to be elected to the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Musicians since its inception in 1500. 


In July the BBC recorded Barbaric Dance Suite, Suite for cello solo and the Grand Duo. 


Rainier15 wrote in July 1983 about the beginning of a new commission which resulted in Celebration, her last composition: 


 ‘A new offer has been made for a commission - somewhat strange - for a grand occasion on October 5, 1984, but it is to do with Yehudi who will be involved, and at his instigation, so, since the Menuhin ‘Non’ Trio is not wanted until 1985, I can, with some trepidation, take on this new offer instead of the ‘Rest’ which I hoped for.’ 


1984 -1986

The short score of the new composition was completed in a relatively short time. In March 1984 Rainier was hospitalized for three weeks at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, because of a sharp attack of angina. Her condition troubled her and hampered her composition progress. At one stage she16 wrote: 


‘I am heavily involved in the piece for Yehudi to conduct with solo passages for his violin in between. It’s difficult to be forced to use so many instruments - against all my inclinations!’ 


However, she completed the composition early in May and Celebration, a work for full orchestra and violin, performed by Yehudi Menuhin and the Jersey Youth Orchestra conducted by Mel Davison, was performed on 5 October 1984 in Gloucester Hall. Fort Regent, Jersey. The occasion was the dual celebrations of the 21st Anniversary of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust and the 25th Anniversary of the Jersey Zoo. Her Royal Highness Princess Anne attended the concert. 


Virginia Fortescue offered Priaulx her Cape Town studio for four weeks from the beginning of January 1985. She combined this last visit to South Africa to see her relations in Roodepoort and attended recording sessions at the SABC studios in Johannesburg, Ploërmel by the National Symphony Orchestra of the SABC, conducted by Brian Priestman. In Cape Town she enjoyed the company of long standing friends and treasured most of all the sunshine and the view of Table Mountain, which to her, possessed magical qualities. 


She felt physically stronger after her South African trip, but was worried about the progress of her proposed Trio Concertante for the Menuhin School. She received a pacemaker and stayed with friends to recuperate. There were performances of her works even in Australia. Nigel Butterley included Quanta in the concert programme for his 50th birthday. 


It was very important for her to remain active, and although less productive, she was still in touch and interested in the new music around her. She was conscious of her own place as a creative artist within these developments and was not somebody who would just go along with any new trend. She17 made her point by saying: ‘á propo the wild trends in new music: Valéry said: “ Novelty is that which is most perishable.”’ Cocteau said: ‘ Fashion is what is outmoded.’ In July 1986 she was represented in Israel when her Cycle for Declamation was performed. 


At the end of July she was invited to attend the activities of the Dartington International Summer School and she could attend performances of Organ Gloriana, Primordial Canticles, Barbaric Dance Suite, Sinfonia da Camera and Quinque. This was probably the last occasion where she could attend and enjoy performance of her own work. She needed the appreciation as she was very low and depressed about work, with an arthritic shoulder and bad eyes. As it was necessary for her to rest, the work process was slow and unsettled. 


She left by car with June Opie, a friend of many years standing for a holiday to her beloved France on 21 September. They rented a cottage in the hills above the French Alpine town of Besse- en- Chandesse where she died on 10 October 1986. The news was published in various newspapers in England, Europe and in South Africa. 


A concert in celebration of the Life and Work of Priaulx Rainier took place at the Wigmore Hall on 28 March1987. It was Rainier’s special request that Philip Langridge sang the Cycle for Declamation at this concert. There were also written tributes by British musical personalities like Sir Michael Tippett, Sit William Glock, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Peter Gelhorn and others in the programme. The establishment of the Priaulx Rainier Fund was also announced in the programme. Alan Blyth18 wrote: 


‘Priaulx Rainier’s death ... robbed the music world of one of its honest and fastidious composers.’  



The technical possibilities of an instrument always stimulated Rainier’s imagination. That is perhaps why she so seldom cared to repeat composing for a certain combination of instruments. New sounds ‘fired’ her, as she put it. Economy of material use dominated her compositions and dynamics were important. Her works reveal that she was a highly original and fastidious composer. This accounts for the relatively few compositions while she was still teaching. There is no conscious system in her work, she did not use any key-system, experiment with specific technique, belong to any ‘school’, and admitted to few influences from other composers. Her output cannot really be divided in different style periods, but Quanta is definitely a prominent point of change in direction. Up to 1955, with the exception of the orchestral and film music, all her compositions are available in print or as dyeline copies. They were seldom completely revised, although ‘corrections’ after performances were scrupulously added to her ‘Own Copy’. 


After her death her music was  not readily performed and it is therefor encouraging that some of her works are recorded on CD.19 


Let us remember this pioneering South African born composer whose spirit and strength of mind was fuelled with the images, experiences and impressions of her youth in remote regions of Natal and in later years the atmosphere of the Cape.  


(Hubert van der Spuy) 




1.         He died on 31 May 1919 in Cape Town, aged 61 years. 


2.         She survived her husband and died aged 58 in Cape Town on 30 July 1925. Both were buried in the Maitland cemetery, Cape Town. 


3.         Nella studied at the RAM from 1912 to1916, her first subject being piano and her second subject, viola. 


4.         JB McEwen is known to a generation of music teachers as he wrote the wellknown Elements of Music, first published in 1910 in London. He was the brother of Helen Bell, wife of ‘Daddy’ Bell, principal of the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town from 1912 to 1935. 


5.         Walter Swanson (1903-1985) became a student at the RAM after the First World War and specialized in composition and won the Ada Lewis Bursary for violin. 


6.         Aubrey Billson Rainier was born on 8 July 1924 in East London and died on 26 November 1984 in Pretoria. He was a cellist in the Johannesburg Radio Orchestra from 1943 to 1961. He joined the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for a while until in 1965 he accepted a position as principal cellist and personnel manager to the newly- created Pact Orchestra. In 1974 he became Chief Administrative Official of the Orchestra, and on 1 August 1983, Head of the Orchestra. - a position he still held at the time of his death. 


7.         Van Wyk went to London in September 1938 after receiving a British Performing Society Bursary. During the war years he was a committed student at the RAM and he won several medals and prizes, including the important medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, awarded tri-annually to the most advanced student at the Academy. He also worked for the BBC in the newly created Afrikaans service from 1938 to 1944. He returned to South Africa in 1946. 


8.         MacDonald, Calum. 1973. Last week’s broadcast music. The Listener, 15 February. 


9.         Ploërmel is a work for wind instruments and percussion which the BBC commissioned in 1972. Priaulx and her sister Nella was in France for a short holiday and in the small town, Ploërmel , the pealing of the cathedral bells gave her the inspiration for this work.. 


10.       See also Musicus, vol 17.2 1989, pages 113 to 116. 


11.       Said at the Transvaal Convention of the SASMT in Roodepoort on 27 October 1979. The author was present at the occasion. 


12.       Letter dated 14.11.1980 from Priaulx Rainier to author. Other works performed were Konzertstück for violin and orchestra (first UK performance) - Roger Smalley; Il ritorno degli snovidenia for cello and orchestra (first UK performance) - Luciano Berio and Seltimo concerto per orchestra - Goffredo Petrassy. 


13.       Letter dated 08.11.1981 from Priaulx Rainier to author. 


14.       Letter dated 27.07.1982 from Priaulx Rainier to author. 


15.       Letter dated 29.07.1983 from Priaulx Rainier to author. 


16.       Letter dated 27.11.1983 from Priaulx Rainier to author. 


17.       Letter dated on Easter Sunday 1986 from Priaulx Rainier to author. 


18.       Blyth, Alan. 1987. Tribute to Priaulx Rainier. The Daily Telegraph, 30 March. 


19.       • A South African CD recording of Rainier’s Clarinet Suite was released by GSE Claremont (CD GSE 1504) in1988. The artists are Olivier de Groote (clarinet) and Albie van Schalkwyk (piano). 


• Leonardo Productions are responsible for a CD with the title ‘Vive la Différence’ which contains string quartets of five women composers from five continents. Rainier’s String Quartet, performed by the Alard Quartet was already recorded in 1982 in Pennsylvania. 


• Redcliffe Recordings (RR 007) issued a CD with music of Rainier in 1997. On this her String Quartet, played by the Edinburgh Quartet, Quanta and String Trio recorded by the Redcliffe Ensemble as well as Ploërmel, recorded by the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble appears. 


• A further issue from Redcliffe Recordings (RR 011) came in 1977 which contains British Choir Music of Priaulx Rainier, Francis Routh and Alan Rawsthrone. The National Youth Choir of Great Britain directed by Michael Bremer. Rainier’s Requiem is included on this recording. 


            • On the latest CD entitled ‘No Title Required’ (MSV CD 92056 FP) issued by Metier, Rainier is coupled with the younger Australian born composer Sadie Harrison (1956). Rainier’s works that feature on this disc are: Suite for clarinet and piano, Five keyboard pieces and her Sonata for viola and piano. 



Baxter, Timothy. 1977. Priaulx Rainier: A study of her musical style. Composer no 60 p19. 


Malan JP (ed). 1979. South African Music Encyclopedia Vols 1 & 4. Cape Town: Oxford University Press 


Opie, June.1988.’Come and Listen to the Stars Singing’, Priaulx Rainier: A Pictorial Biography. Penzance: Hodge. 


Van der Spuy, Hubert. 1979. Priaulx Rainier: Musicus, 7(1):7-14. 


Van der Spuy, Hubert. 1989. Priaulx Rainier: Due Canti e Finale. Musicus, 17(2):113-116. 


Van der Spuy, Hubert. 1993. Priaulx Rainier:1903-1986. Musicus, 21(1). 47. 


Van der Spuy, Hubert. 2003. Rainier het die weg gebaan, Die Burger, 3 Februarie. 


Van der Spuy, HH.1988. The compositions of Priaulx Rainier: an annotated catalogue. DPhil thesis, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch.   




Orchestral Works:




Sinfonia da camera, strings, 1947 


Phalaphala, dance concerto, 1960 


Violoncello Concerto, 1963–4 


Aequora lunae, 1966–7 


Ploërmel, wind instruments, percussion, 1972–3 


Due canti e finale, violin and orchestra, 1977 


Concertante, oboe, clarinet and orchestra, 1980–81 


Celebration, violin and orchestra, 1984


Chamber Music: 


String quartet, 1939 


Suite, clarinet and piano, 1943 


Sonata, viola and piano, 1946 


6 Pieces, 5 wind instruments, 1957 


Trio-Suite, piano trio, 1960 


Quanta, oboe and string trio, 1961–2 


String Trio, 1965–6 


Grand Duo, violoncello and piano, 1982


Solo Instrumental Works:


Barbaric Dance Suite, piano, 1949 


5 Pieces, keyboard, 1955 


Pastoral Triptych, oboe, 1958–9 


Suite, violoncello/viola, 1963–5 


Quinque, harpsichord, 1971 

Organ Gloriana, organ, 1972 


Primordial Canticles, organ, 1974


Vocal Works:

3 Greek Epigrams (Anyte of Tegea, translated by R. Aldington), soprano and piano, 1937 


Dance of the Rain (E. Marais, translated by Uys Krige), tenor/soprano, guitar, 1947 


Ubunzima [Misfortune], tenor/soprano, guitar, 1948 


Cycle for Declamation (J. Donne), tenor/soprano unaccompanied, 1953 


Requiem (D. Gascoigne), tenor, SATB unaccompanied, 1955–6 


The Bee Oracles (E. Sitwell), tenor/baritone, flute, oboe, violin, violoncello, harpsichord, 1969 


Vision and Prayer (D. Thomas), tenor, piano, 1973 


Prayers from the Ark, tenor, harp, 1974–5 




Principal publisher: Schott

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