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Priaulx Rainier
1903 - 1986
South Africa / Great Britain
I.P. Rainier
Ivy Priaulx [Priaulx] Rainier (03/02/1903 - 10/10/1986), a female composer from Natal (born in in Howick, Natal, South Africa, now living in England)) with a slender yet distinguished output. Rainier was a pioneering female musician, a violinist, and a much loved teacher. Her musical roots lay within the broad stream of neo-classicism, owing a particular debt to Bartok, but also showing the influence of her South African upbringing.
Composed in:1955
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:David Gascoyne
Label(s):Redcliffe Recordings RR 011
This remarkable twenty-minute piece is a setting, for tenor and unaccompanied choir, of a text by the English poet David Gascoyne (1916 - 2001), whose qualities of intense vision, coupled with a chilling, declamatory rhetoric, are matched in every nuance by the composer. The work is prefaced by two quotations, which give its clue. One, from Pierre Jean Jouve, reads: 'Grant that we may first taste thee on the day of our death, which is a great day of peace for souls at one; the world full of joy, the sons of men reconciled.'
The requiem falls into four sections, and these are shared between soloists, semi-chorus and full chorus. The text was specially designed for a choral setting, with alternate sections for choir and soloist. The choral writing is homophonic, not polyphonic, and stark in its rhythmic strength. The solo part is partly integrated, in concertante style, partly providing structural links with passages of dramatic recitative. The work has a strange grandeur, and stands among the distinctive pieces of unaccompanied choral music of the contemporary period, and without any of the traditional English influences.
Conceived within the bounds of liturgical worship are a number of a cappella requiem settings, which display a simplicity and sobriety that recall the aims of the 19th-century Cecilian movement. Principal among these are those of Pizzetti (19223), Georges Migot (1953), Priaulx Rainier (1955), Randall Thompson (1958) and Iain Hamilton (1979).
Author:Steven Chang-Lin Yu
D. Gascoyne