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CD Review

John Joubert

Works for Strings

  • Sinfonietta, Op. 38
  • Song Cycle "The Instant Moment", Op. 110
  • Variations for String Orchestra "Temps Perdu", Op. 99
Henry Herford, baritone
English String Orchestra/William Boughton
British Music Society BMS419CD
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Thanks to Lyrita and the British Music Society, John Joubert's music has of late, come more to the fore. This initiative is most welcome, as Joubert's music is well articulated and attractively scored; in fact his works never lack that dramatic touch, which is so vital for any piece of music.

This disc includes two orchestral works and a song-cycle, "Temps Perdu" as its name implies, is inspired by Marcel Proust, particularly "Swann's Way", the first novel, which deals with the author's childhood and adolescence. As Joubert admitted, it was his own memories which he wanted recreated in music, and so he turned to a couple of juvenile pieces for string orchestra, and from the second he fashioned a set of variations, each of which explores some aspect of the memories evoked by the original.

Commissioned by the Orchestra da Camera in 1962, the Sinfonietta is scored for a classical chamber ensemble and is in two movements. premièred in April of that same year, the piece has a bouncy "Allegro con spirito" followed by a relaxed "Molto moderato" that leads into a very spirited "Tarantella" which ends with some rousing sounds indeed.

The song cycle "The Instant Moment" is based on five poems by D.H. Lawrence, published in 1917. These works focus on the relationship of Lawrence and Frieda, wife of the renowned Professor Ernest Weekley of Nottingham University, with whom he had eloped in 1912 until their marriage in 1914. The poems were selected with the intention of expressing musical terms to the strongly contrasted reactions of this love experience.

All three performances are meticulously executed and the sense of excitement permeating the recording sessions is wholly infectious. A most welcome addition to the Joubert discography in excellent digital sound coupled with informative annotations.

Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech