Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

IAIN KENDELL - 1931-2001

Iain Kendell died suddenly of a heart attack on 28 February 2001 at his home in Swanage. Born in London in 1931 he retired to Dorset in 1985 after a distinguished career, first as a concert pianist and then in music education and composition. He leaves behind a large body of work, especially for his own instrument, the piano.

From the age of ten he studied at the Royal Academy of Music where he won the Hine Gift for Composition. Called up for National Service he worked at B.F.N. Radio Station in Hamburg, coming into contact with many prominent German conductors and musicians. Giving over 50 broadcasts as a pianist and conductor he was already well-known in Germany by the time he made his debut as a pianist in Hamburg's Musikhalle in 1952. On returning to England he was active in London's musical life giving concerts at the Wigmore and Festival Halls and broadcasts on the B.B.C. He won the Harriet Cohen Medal in 1958. In 1957 he began composing and after a concert of his works at Leighton House he was published by J. & W. Chester Ltd. From 1962 he combined composing with an academic career in Music Education - from 1965 within the Universities of London, Reading and Surrey. Gaining a Ph.D (Learning Processes of Young Children in Music) he was given recognition as an educationalist, researcher and composer for children. The main body of his compositions, however, has always been for an adult audience. Since 1985 he worked solely as a composer and pianist, contributing to the musical life of Dorset.

The sources of inspiration for his works were often the natural world and landscapes in particular. The scenic beauty of Wales, and later, Italy and Dorset were the basis of the creation of many of his compositions. Poetry was also a creative spur. A fine interpreter as a pianist, especially of Debussy and C.P.E. Bach, he made great use of the sonority of the piano in his own works for that instrument.

Sadly, his educational works have all now disappeared from print. They include several large cantatas - Spring Cantata, Song of Summer, The Sea, A Song of Praise, On Such a Night, Hymn to the Sun - many commissioned; as well as the wonderful Junior Music series of graded works, by himself and other composers, to be performed by Primary age children. Each is a term's work culminating in a performance, combining to provide a structured two year music programme. The words of many of these works were written by his companion and collaborator - Steuart Allin, who also provided, through his poetry, many of the texts to individual songs and song-cycles. Steuart Allin also wrote the stories and libretti for the 'Time for Music' programme under the auspices of the School's Council, published by E.J. Arnold. This work was the basis of his Ph.D. dissertation and resulted in a music programme for young children from Nursery School through to Primary School. Its aim was to teach children instrumental and vocal skills, together with notation and increase their listening ability. It is, again, long out of print.

He received many commissions, not only for works for schools, but also by other bodies including the B.B.C. Works for them include Gilgamesh, Once Paumonok and The Lark. His cantata Petrus was commissioned for the Millennium of St. Peter's Collegiate Church in Wolverhampton with a libretto written by Steuart Allin. Other large scale choral commissions include The Hymn of Light, Song of the Suburb and Mass of the Earth. This latter, beautiful choral piece is extremely relevant for our times and deserves a proper professional production. Perhaps his local orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra would consider putting it on in his memory. David Hill would make a wonderful interpreter of the work.

His works are lodged at the British Music Information Centre, The Royal Academy and the University of Reading. It is to be hoped that members of the younger generation of performers, many of whom will have performed his educational compositions while at school, will take up his works, and open up his unique voice to a wider audience.

A memorial concert is to be held at St. Mary's Church in Swanage on Saturday 16 June 2001 at 7.00 pm and will include several of his works including the first performance of his String Quartet by the artists for whom it was written.

Robert Field

IAIN KENDELL: List of compositions (excluding Educational works)


Symphony No. 1 for full orchestra 2000

Music For Strings for solo string quartet & string orchestra 1964

Variations On A Lakeside Theme for clarinet in Bb & string orchestra 1993

Hymn Of Light A Choral Symphony for S.A.T.B., children's choir & chamber orchestra with words taken from the Hymns to Aten, the Psalms, and the New Testament, selected and paraphrased by Steuart Allin 1963

Mass Of The Earth for S.A.T.B. choir, soprano & tenor solo, organ, flute & percussion (Libretto by Steuart Allin) 1971, revised 1982

Song Of A Suburb for S.A.T.B. choir & organ with libretto by Steuart Allin 1973

Petrus - A Cantata of St. Peter (Libretto - Steuart Allin) for tenor & bass soloists, choir, children's choir, organ & orchestra, 1993-4


The May Magnificat SSA text Gerald Manley Hopkins 1965

O Magnum Mysterium SSA 1968

Three Epitaphs SA & Piano text 17th century epitaphs from churches in Devon 1970

What Shall We Bring Him? middle voices and organ/piano, a carol (text by Steuart Allin) 1994

Lodi Di Dio Altissimo SATB text St. Francis of Assisi 1985

Shepherd's Carol SATB text Steuart Allin 1993

Three Easter Anthems SATB 1. Oh Hearts that Grief has Laden (Steuart Allin) 2. Song of Mary Magdalen (Steuart Allin) 3. Easter Hymn (A.E. Housman) 1993


Sogno Sul Lago for violin, cello & piano 1995

Piano Trio No. 1 for violin, cello & piano 1997

Musica Per Amici for violin, viola, cello & piano 1995

Piano Quintet (The Four Elements) for string quartet & piano 1995

Transitions for flute, clarinet in Bb, violin & piano 1973

Pastorale for violin (or flute) & cello 1974

String Trio for violin, viola & cello 1994

String Quartet No. 1 for two violins, viola & cello 2000

Variations On A Lakeside Theme for clarinet in Bb, two violins, viola, cello and optional double-bass 1993

A Dorset Suite for three treble instruments (or 2 Treble & 1 Tenor Recorders) 1959

Collages From "The Lark In The Morning" for three violas 2000

Four Autumn Haiku for solo flute 1972

Sonatina for flute (or oboe) & piano 1972

Episode for clarinet & piano 1962

Sequence for clarinet & piano 1968 (or Harmonica)

Sonata no. 1 for clarinet & piano 1970

Sonata No. 2 for clarinet & piano 1986

Sonata no. 1 for violin & piano 1961

Sonata no. 2 for violin & piano 1986

Sonata no. 3 for violin & piano 1996

Two Elegies for viola & piano 1976

Sonata no. 1 for viola & piano 1987

Sonata no. 1 for cello & piano 1958

Sonata No. 2 for cello & piano 1989


Solitaire (Seven Bagatelles) 1959

Variations In Search Of A Theme 1961

Derivations - (12 Studies in Resonance &Tonality) 1961

Grafitti 1961

Inscapes 1962

Piano sonata no.1 (Homage to C.P.E. Bach) 1967

Five Dialogues 1969

Five Haiku (From Winter to Spring) 1970

Piano sonata no.2 (The Fibonacci) 1973

Piano sonata no. 3 (In Memoriam) 1977

Four Aspects Of Winter 1979

Piano sonata no. 4 (Acceptance brings its rewards) 1980

Risonanze Di Roma 1981

Five Etruscan Vases 1982

Piano sonata no. 5 (Pasqua in Toscana) 1982

12 Preludes (Book 1) (Impressione d'Italia) 1983

Piano Sonata No. 6 (Sonata d'Assisi) 1983

Piano Sonata No. 7 (Intervals in Landscape) 1984

12 Preludes (Book 2) (Impressione d'Italia) 1987

Welsh Landscapes 1988

Four Nocturnes 1988

Piano Sonata No. 8 (Modi vivendi) 1988

Piano Sonata No. 9 1989

Three Idylls 1996

Zodiac Variations 1998


The Windflower - A Cycle of five Songs to Poems by Steuart Allin for Mezzo-Soprano & Piano 1957

Five Songs From "Urania" Settings of Poems of Ruth Pitter for Mezzo-Soprano & Piano 1959

Four Elizabethan Songs Tenor & Piano 1960

Seven Songs Of Innocence Settings of Poems by William Blake for Tenor & Piano 1983

The Echoing Green Setting of a poem by William BlakeTenor & Piano 1987

The Windflower - A Cycle of five Songs to Poems by Steuart Allin for Baritone & Piano 1957

Aus Dem Stundenbuch A Cycle of five songs to poems by Rainer Maria Rilke for Baritone & Piano 1958

Peter Quince At The Clavier A setting of a poem by Wallace Stevens for Baritone & Piano 1960

Three Songs From "The Book Of The Dead" transcribed by Steuart Allin for Baritone & Piano 1961

Night Sounds Setting of a poem by Steuart Allin for Baritone (or Mezzo-Soprano), Clarinet in Bb & Piano 1973

Songs Of Summer Settings of six poems by Steuart Allin for Mezzo-Soprano, Violin, Viola, Cello & Piano 1987


MISRULE (1976) - Play by Alec Reid
ONCE PAUMANOK (1981) - A Portrait of Walt Whitman by Steuart Allin
eye (1981) - A portrait of e.e.cummings by David Ossman
GILGAMESH (1983) - Play by Alec Reid
THE LARK (1984) - A Collage of Poetry and Prose selected by Steuart Allin
SONS AND MOTHERS (1988) - Poetry and Prose selected by Anne Harvey

Other programmes broadcast on Radio 4:

He also acted as consultant, but did not compose music for:


Schools Council Project ŒMusic Education of Young Children¹ at the University of Reading
Was published by E.J. Arnold & Son Ltd

All the items below were published by J & W. Chester Ltd
Junior Music - Stage One
KING IN A MANAGER - words by Steuart Allin
THE TREE - words by Steuart Allin
SIR GEOFFREY¹S BOOK - words M.K. Richardson
GETTING ABOUT - words by Steuart Allin

Junior Music - Stage Three
ON SUCH A NIGHT - Christmas Cantata - words by Steuart Allin
HYMN TO THE SUN - Cantata - words by Steuart Allin freely based on Ancient Egyptian Hymns
THE SEA - Choral Symphony - words by Steuart Allin
A SONG OF SUMMER - Choral and Orchestral Theme and Variations - words by Steuart Allin
A SPRING CANTATA - words by Steuart Allin
A PRAISE OF GOD IN HIS CREATURES - words by Steuart Allin

DAWN VICTORY A cantata for Easter - words by Steuart Allin

MEET EDWARD HONEY BRUIN BEAR - words by Steuart Allin
CONCLAVE for 3 treble melody instruments



Return to Index