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John Joubert

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The composer John Joubert has died aged 91.

A

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I'm sad to hear that, though it comes to us all. I don't think he ever really received quite the acclaim he deserved. His style is unique, but I'd guess that Britten was a strong influence and maybe Stravinsky too.  Gloucester made a CD of his choral music which is a worthwhile purchase.   There's a detached lack of sentiment in the pieces on that CD and, if that's typical, I wonder whether it counted against him.

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We sang 'Torches' at midnight on Christmas Eve. Always a fun piece to sing at the end of a hard week of carol services and concerts.

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So very sad to hear of the death of John Joubert.  He was a lovely  and gracious man and , following commissioning his opera "The Prisoner" in 1969 for performance in 1973 for the quatercenterary of Queen Elizabeth's Boys' Grammar School in Barnet,  I kept in touch with him and his wife, Mary, ever since.    He always said that the opera was rather like updated Gilbert and Sullivan, so much so that the boys at the school who were not musically inclined but helped greatly with sets and lighting were going round the school whistling some of the tunes.  The opera is set in Concordia and John mentioned to me that its national anthem was, in fact, one that he wrote for a competition for a new national anthem for Nigeria.  He did not win that competition so used the piece in "The Prisoner" instead!  I still possess the full manuscript score of the opera which runs into 311 pages.  It is a marvellous work.    He also wrote his anthem "How are my foes increased Lord" for my choir's recital tour of Sweden in 1969.

He will be a great loss to the musical world.

DKP

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Sad news indeed.

I very much like his anthem, "O Lord the Maker of All Thing" - wonderfully atmospheric and exciting music to both perform and hear.

On a lighter note; on the day that the 2012 Olympic Torch was being paraded through Stratford-upon-Avon (1 July 2012) I played "Torches" as a postlude to our morning service. The congregation just didn't get it...

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His hymn tune for Blake's "To mercy, pity, peace and love" in the Cambridge Hymnal is a wonderful little thing.  I don't know that I'd use it as a congregational hymn tune, but it works a treat as a simple, short anthem for a modest parish choir.

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