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John Joubert

Publisher: Novello & Co

Sonata No.2 (1972)
Commissioned by the Birmingham Arts Association
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
20 Minutes

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Programme Note
John Joubert Sonata No.2 (1972)
John Joubert: Piano Sonata, No. 2 Op. 71

1. Moderato - poco allegro
2. Presto - poco lento - presto
3. Poco lento - allegro vivace - meno mosso: maestoso - allegro agitato - lento

The second sonata is on a much larger scale than the first, and has three movements which develop in intensity, reaching a climax in the last movement which is a passacaglia. It is a stormy work, in the sense that it opens peacefully and closes in a similar manner, with a heavy shower of notes and ideas in between.

There is little hint of this in the gentle opening of the first movement, and although it follows the pattern of its previous sonata in developing a climax and releasing it again, it is not until the scherzo, with its powerful motor rhythms, that the full fury of the storm breaks. The concluding passacaglia is built on repetition. The nature of the form party makes this inevitable, but repetition becomes a subtext, with the idea of speeding up to a climax being itself repeated, the second time subsiding into the peace of a storm blown out.
© John Joubert

  • Soloist(s)
    Brodsky Quartet, Patricia Rozario (soprano), David Chadwick (violin), Anna Joubert (cello), Mark Bebbington (piano), John McCabe (piano)
    Somm Records:
For Joubert, the piano is a singing instrument, not a percussive one. He makes it ring forth in gorgeous harmonies one might expect to come from a choir rather than a keyboard. These qualities come together most strikingly in Sonata 2; unless sheer beauty disqualifies it, this must be considered one of the great piano sonatas of the min-20th century.
Lehman, American Record Guide,01/01/2008
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