John Joubert’s many admirers will be delighted by this major contribution to the 80th buirthday celebrations. Five of the seven works have never been recorded before and the 2-CD set in itself virtually doubles the amount of his music now available on disc.
…These two discs should do much to bring Joubert’s music to a wider audience.
David Hart, Birmingham Post, 4/2/2007
It is good to see a record company celebrating the eightieth birthday of John Joubert with such excellent performances. The Brodsky’s playing is the second string quartet is full of vitality and musical insights into a profound work. Patricia Rozario’s singing of the five Landscapes for soprano and piano trio is affecting in its directness of communication in a poem such as ‘Adlestrop’. The Op 113 Piano Trio is Joubert in his most reflective mood, quite unlike other English music of the 1980s in its sustained lyricism. John McCabe is a superb advocate of the three piano sonatas that span Joubert’s career from 1957 to today.
Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph, 5/20/2007
These attractive and often compelling works receive excellent performances from all concerned. They do full justice to this most distinguished composer’s superbly crafted music. The recording is excellent, too, warm and natural....
I have always felt that Joubert was an unjustly neglected composer whose music deserved more attention. Now, this generously filled release and the BMS disc with some choral music (BMS102CDH) and a slightly earlier BMS disc with some orchestral music (BMS419CD), fill a considerable gap in this composer’s current discography. They amply demonstrate the breadth of Joubert’s achievement as well as the human warmth and utter sincerity of his music. His music is – at long last – being given its due. More please.
Hubert Culot, Musicweb, 5/21/2007
'There will be very few choral singers who haven't had a go at Torches, the jolly Christmas song published in the first edition of Carols for Choirs about 50 years ago. Its composer was John Joubert, South African born but long resident in this country- and he has many other compositions to his credit.
At last, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, he gets the accolade of a double CD...Joubert's music at its best has a striking melodic content, often built in short, memorable phrases which he repeats effectively (and which work nicely in canon, too,) and finely crafted textures.
The most rewarding here is his Piano Trio, but there is much more intriguing music to explore in this collection.'
Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News, 4/27/2007
...here is a composer at ease on the largest scale, writing in an idiom that is demonstrably tonal without invoking stylistic compromise or pastiche. This quality is equally apparent in his chamber and instrumental music.
Richard Whitehouse, International Record Review, 6/1/2007
South African-born John Joubert has been in Britain since 1946 and in Birmingham for the part 45 years, teaching at the University and contributing greatly to the city’s musical life. In the mid-1980s he took early retirement from the University in order to devote his time more fully to composing new works. Birmingham City Council commendably heads the list of sponsors of this double album marking his 80th birthday year.
Pride of place goes to Joubert’s 1977 Second Quartet, an impressive piece played with great conviction by the Brodsky Quartet, in the best recording of the set. The work grows out of Beethoven’s ‘Muss es sein?’ motif, but its figuration owes more to Shostakovich, and indeed the third of the four movements is a muted Adagio in memory of ‘DSCH’. If the quartet lacks much extended lyrical melody, there’s plenty in the expansive 1986 Piano Trio…. A trio including the composer’s cellist daughter Anna Joubert plays this well, and also partners the excellent Patricia Rozario in the 1992 Landscapes, a setting of five English poems which are sometimes idyllic, sometimes angry, about humanity’s relationship with nature.
On disc two, devoted to solo piano music, the trio’s pianist Mark Bebbington is gently persuasive in the 2000 Lyric Fantasy on themes from Joubert’s opera Jane Eyre. John McCabe confidently meets the tougher challenge of the three sonatas (1957, 1972, 2006). …they’re again substantial and convincingly argued – typical products in fact of Joubert’s long and distinguished career.
PERFORMANCE: 4 STARS
SOUND: 4 STARS
Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine, 8/1/2007
Unquestionably one of Joubert’s finest works, the Second Quartet makes an excellent introduction to his works. The Brodsky Quartet reveals the strength and the poetry of the piece in a reading of notable commitment and imagination.
Dating from 1986, the Piano Trio… is another confident, deftly scored work that deserves to be in the repertoire of every international chamber group. It shows the composer at his wittiest and most urbane, culminating in a glorious Passacaglia, whose eight bar theme gives rise to 15 distinctive, sharply-characterized variations.
John McCabe makes an ideal interpreter of the three Joubert Piano Sonatas. The first two have been in McCabe’s repertoire for years and his readings sound with the reassuring ring of authenticity. The First Sonata, in one movement (1957), is a weighty, cogently argued piece with a brilliant tarantella scherzo at its heart. McCabe has the full measure of this taut, vigorous and thrilling piece. It successors are no less powerful, whether in the driving tarantella scherzo of the Second Sonata (1972), a kindred spirit of the finale of Schubert’s C minor piano sonata D958, or the implacable tread of the March which concludes the Third Sonata, written for the 2006 Weymouth Music Club. …The excellent SOMM discs are self-recommending; they whet the appetite for more chamber releases….
Paul Conway, Tempo, 10/1/2007
...This is glorious, majestic music from start to finish, by a composer whose deeply individual voice comes almost in spite of his complete unconcern with innovation or ‘originality’.
Performances are superb, by pianists, string players, and singer alike, and sonics clear and natural, with some but not too much hall resonance. Anyone who cares about chamber music since Debussy should hear this.
Lehman, American Record Guide, 1/1/2008