John Joubert 1927-2019

Duncan Honeybourne writes:

“I have been deeply saddened by the death of John Joubert on 7th January, aged 91, after a remarkable life distinguished by his contribution as one of the leading composers of our time. He was a fascinating man of formidable intellectual breadth and curiosity, and it was a rare joy to spend time in his lively, probing, illuminating and sympathetic company. It was a privilege to work extensively with John on his piano music, and we quickly became friends over two decades. I considered it the most precious of honours when he announced that he’d like to write a Third Piano Sonata for me, and this work – together with his whole piano output – remains very special to me. To mark John’s 90th birthday I played the complete cycle of his piano music in his presence in Birmingham, and he suggested then that I might record it. How thankful I am that this project was brought to joyful fruition by Prima Facie just in time for John to hear the results. He received his copy of the disc just before Christmas and, on New Years Eve, he wrote me a letter I shall always treasure:

“I feel I must write again to thank you for embarking on such a major undertaking and achieving such remarkable results. The playing and recording quality are both outstanding and justify to the highest degree all the hard work you and your colleagues must have put into it. It deserves every success, and is already one of my most prized possessions!”

The following day, John suffered a fall, and he died a week later. Many tributes this week have affirmed the high regard in which he was held, but I will always remember a good friend and a delightful man, as well as a musical titan who inspired me, supported me in my early career and taught me a great deal. His music will ensure his immortality, and I hope our new release will play its own small part in helping listeners of the present and future to discover Joubert’s vibrant and lyrical music afresh. May John Joubert rest in peace, and my love and sympathy go to John’s wife Mary, his son Pierre, daughter Anna and all their family.” 11th January 2019.