The Complete Solo Piano Music of John Joubert (1927-2019) (PFCD162/163) Double CD £15/£20
Duncan Honeybourne - piano
1 Piano Sonata no.1 Sonata in One Movement, Op. 24
2-4 Piano Sonata no.2, Op71
5-7 Piano Sonata no.3, Op. 157
1 Evocations - a rhapsody for piano
2-6 Dance Suite, Op. 21
7 Lyric Fantasy on themes from the opera Jane Eyre
Duncan Honeybourne’s recording of Joubert’s piano music was first released by Prima Facie in February 2019, a few weeks after the composer’s death. Honeybourne, a close friend of Joubert and the dedicatee of the Third Piano Sonata, had studied the works with the composer, who asked him to record his piano music and described his pre-release copy of the disc as “one of my most prized possessions.” The recital charted a chronological journey through Joubert’s complete published solo piano music, from the bracing Dance Suite, written in John’s twenties, to the transcendental musings of the Third Piano Sonata, composed when he was almost eighty.
This second edition also offers something extra: a remarkable work from Joubert’s years as a student at the Royal Academy of Music. In December 2020 Joubert’s daughter Anna discovered the manuscript of Evocations, a rhapsody for piano, which John had written at the age of 22. Howard Ferguson, one of John's composition professors, gave the work its first performance at the RAM in 1950, but this student work was quickly shelved as Joubert achieved international renown for his ever-growing output of masterpieces.
Honeybourne writes: “The strong personality I knew so well from Joubert’s later work jumped vividly and unmistakably off the page. I was astonished at the maturity and assurance of the writing, the fluency of the invention and the technical ingenuity with which the one-movement structure was knitted together. I felt that we should add Evocations to my existing recording of Joubert’s piano music, to offer a truly complete conspectus of this very distinctive composer’s writing for solo piano. This new set of two discs is the result."
The first edition of The Complete Solo Piano Music of John Joubert was awarded 5 stars in Musical Opinion and featured as a Recommended Recording on Austrian Radio (ORF) in 2020. "glittering performances from Duncan Honeybourne...it is not hard to hear why Joubert was drawn to his playing.” International Piano, 2019
You can read more about this recording on the Prima Facie blog
Recorded and produced by Stephen Plews
Edited and mastered by Phil Hardman
Sonatas, Dance Suite and Lyric Fantasy recorded at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton, 8th August 2018 (Piano: Fazioli)
Rhapsody Evocations recorded at Holy Trinity Church, Hereford, 27th March 2021 (Piano: Steinway)
Photo of Duncan Honeybourne by Kris Worsley Photography
Photo of John Joubert and Duncan Honeybourne by Anna Joubert
Cover: Carnelian 2 by Ellie Preston (ellieprestonstudio.com)
John Joubert (1927-2019), one of our best-loved and most distinguished senior composers, was at the forefront of British musical life for seven decades, producing a steady stream of masterpieces in a plethora of genres. Born in Cape Town in 1927, he came to England in 1946 to study at the Royal Academy of Music and has long been settled in Birmingham, where he was a Senior Lecturer (and later Reader) in Music, before taking early retirement to concentrate on composition. His 80th and 90th birthdays were marked with major celebrations of his life and retrospectives of his work.
Duncan Honeybourne enjoys a diverse profile as a pianist and in music education. His concerto debut in 1998 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and the National Concert Hall, Dublin, was broadcast on radio and television, and recital debuts included London, Paris, and international festivals in Belgium and Switzerland. Duncan has toured extensively as soloist and chamber musician, broadcasting frequently for the BBC and radio networks worldwide. His many recordings reflect his interest in 20th and 21st century British piano music. He is a Tutor in Piano at the University of Southampton.