The Choral Music of John Joubert
Gloucester Cathedral Choir
Ashley Grote, organ
South African-born Joubert, now 82, is an unsung hero of English choral music. As this beautifully recorded disc shows, his music spans a wide emotional range, from the neo-Renaissance polyphonic splendour of Five Songs of Incarnation to the dark intimacy of the Rochester Triptych. The intricate Passacaglia and fugue is deftly played by organist Ashley Grote. [4 STARS]
, Classical Music, 9/26/2009
John Joubert is in his eighties now, and on the evidence of Five Songs of Incarnation (2007), going as strong as ever. These unaccompanied ‘medieval carols’ are prefaced here by excerpts from John’s gospel, sung with admirable clarity and sensitivity by tenor James Atherton. They show the Gloucester choir to be a body very much at ease with itself, naturally expressive without artful straining, deft in enunciation though eyeing always the shaping of the longer musical paragraph. More fine singing by treble James Lloyd-Smith marks the opening of ‘Of a Rose, a lovely Rose’ section, the lower voices thrumming soothingly beneath his arcing contribution.
Full choir and organ can certainly let rip when necessary, closing out the Rochester Triptych with impressively untrammelled blasts of sound and energy. ‘There is no Rose’, by contrast, is sweet and tautly focussed at much lower dynamic levels. It’s hard to imagine this repertoire could be executed any better.
[PERFORMANCE 5 stars, RECORDING 5 stars]
Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine, 9/1/2009
...magnificent performances of monolithic, intensely emotional and vividly dramatic music. Read full review
, The American Organist, 7/1/2010