South of the Line: Choral Music by John Joubert | Somm SOMMCD0166

South of the Line: Choral Music by John Joubert

£10.76

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Label: Somm

Cat No: SOMMCD0166

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 3rd March 2017

Contents

Artists

Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir
Harry Bent (percussion)
Stephen Plummer (percussion)
Miriam Kitchener (percussion)
George Kirkham (percussion)
Domonokos Csabay (piano)
Gyorgy Hodzso (piano)

Conductor

Paul Spicer

Works

Joubert, John

Autumn Rain, op.105
Be not Afeard, op.179
Incantation
O Lorde, the maker of al thing
O Praise God in his Holiness, op.52
Pilgrimage Song, op.169
Portraits (3), op.97
Sonnet, op.123
South of the Line, op.109
There is no rose
This is the Gate of the Lord, op.164

Artists

Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir
Harry Bent (percussion)
Stephen Plummer (percussion)
Miriam Kitchener (percussion)
George Kirkham (percussion)
Domonokos Csabay (piano)
Gyorgy Hodzso (piano)

Conductor

Paul Spicer

About

SOMMís celebration of John Joubertís 90th birthday this month brings to the catalogue yet more new riches, this time no fewer than seven premiŤre recordings of his choral music. South of the Line (together with Autumn Rain) was recorded in June 2016 at the Birmingham Conservatoire and poignant is the fact that it was commissioned from the composer for the opening of the Adrian Boult Hall and the last music heard there for this recording, before its demolition.

Choirs are at the heart of John Joubertís music and it is by his choral music that he seems to communicate most directly with audiences. He once commented. ĎCommunication is important to me. I want to be understood, enjoyed and usedí. Itís perhaps for this reason, this capacity for dramatic articulation of meaning, that his choral music holds such a certain place in the listenersí hearts. Indeed he has composed choral music throughout his career winning, in 1952, a Novello Anthem competition with O Lorde, the Maker of Al Thing set to a poem by Henry VIII. The lullaby-like There is no Rose (1954) is another work with a firm place in the English choral repertoire, and another setting of an ancient text. Incantation, Pilgrimage Song and Three Portraits as well as Sonnet, This is the Gate of the Lord, Autumn Rain and Be Not Afeard, his most recent work a commission for Novello honouring the 400th anniversary of Shakespeareís death, are all first recordings.

But perhaps the most powerful and extraordinary of all the works on this disc is South of the Line. Commissioned by Ex-Cathedra in 1985 it receives here a searing interpretation by Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir under their conductor, Paul Spicer. Joubert uses texts from five poems by Thomas Hardy who wrote them in response to the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War at the turn of the century. The music is an unabashed anti-war statement with a cataclysmic setting of words, consisting of equal parts grief and scathing irony, pitting the choir against a battery of percussion Ė even the two pianos are essentially treated as drums. The music they evoke from the South African-English John Joubert is a compelling and a powerful indictment against the inhumanity of war.

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