John Joubert

1927- 2019

John Joubert was born in Cape Town in 1927. Aged 19 he won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music and has lived and worked in England ever since. Holder of Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Durham and Birmingham, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and Hon Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire his academic posts have included Lecturer in Music at Hull University and Reader in Music at the University of Birmingham.

Joubert’s long composing career encompasses all genres from symphonic, operatic and chamber works to the ever-popular choral miniatures, Torches and There is no rose.

ORA Singers commissioned John Joubert in 2017 and will be releasing his commission on a future disc.

We were unbelievably excited and honoured to have commissioned the famous choral composer, John Joubert. We premiered his commission, ‘In Odorem’ in February 2018, shortly after John turned 90 years of age! John brought a huge wealth of experience in choral writing, and alongside him in concert we were featuring younger composers, some of which had just written their first ever choral work. Combining these both new and established choral writers left us with an exhilarating programme- so much variety and interpretative difference, each successful in its own right.
— Natalie Watson, Group & Development Manager
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Reflection on the Plainchant Antiphon- In Odorem

My work is cast in three sections. The first is slow and freely based on the contours of the plainsong melody. At the word ‘currimus’ a triplet figure is introduced suggesting the idea of running (‘into the the odour of the ointments we run’). This figure forms the basis of a faster middle section which combines the triplets of ‘currimus’ with the more sustained setting of the second line of text (‘young maidens have greatly adored thee’) also freely based on the plainsong melody. The third and final section is a differently scored and more richly harmonised version of the first, bringing the work to an end with soprano and tenor soloists quietly reflecting on the ‘currimus’ figure.

WORLD PREMIERE: 23rd February 2018, #Renaissance- Mercy, Cheltenham College Chapel