Joubert, John


JOUBERT, John Pierre Herman 


b. Cape Town, 20 March 1927


John Joubert was born in Cape Town.  He studied at the Diocesan College in Rondebosch (1934-1944) and at the South African College of Music in Cape Town, from which he graduated in 1944.  While he was in Cape Town he also received guidance in composition from William Henry Bell.  Upon being awarded a scholarship from the Performing Right Society, he went to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London under Theodore Holland and Howard Ferguson.  He also studied for the degree of B.Mus at the University of Durham, graduating in 1950. He thereafter became a lecturer in music at Hull University, remaining there until 1962 when he moved to the University of Birmingham.  He later held the post of reader in music (1969-1986) at the same university.  He received an honorary DMus from Durham University in 1991.



Stage works:  

Vlei legend, ballet op.4. Commissioned for the Van Riebeeck Festival, 1951.  Ms. 


Antigone, a radio opera in four scenes after Sophocles, op. 11. Rachel Trickett. First performance BBC Home service, July 1954, conducted by Basil Cameron.  Novello, c1954. 


In the drought, An opera in one act, op. 17. Adolph wood.  First performance at Johannesburg Festival, October 1956, conducted by Anton Hartman.  Novello, n.d. 


Music for the play, Candle in the Heavens, James Kirkup, Ms.,1957. 


Music for the SATOUR film, Flight to Fortune. Ms.,1958-1959. Novello, n.d. 


Silas Marner,  an opera in three acts after the novel by George Elliot, op. 31, Rachel Trickett.  First performance at the Little Theatre, Cape Town, May 1961, by the University of Cape Town Opera School, conducted by Prof. Erik Chisholm. Novello, 1961. 


The Quarry, an opera in one act for young players, op.50. David Holbrook.  Commissioned by the Middlesex County Council.  First performance at the Copland School, Wembley, March 1956, under Michael Rose.  Novello, 1967. 


Music for the Agememnon of Aeschylus.  Ms.,1966. 


Under western eyes, an opera in three acts after the novel by Joseph Conrad, op. 51.  Cedric Cliffe.  Commissioned by Watney Mann, Ltd.  First performance at the Camden Festival, May 1969, by the New Opera Company, conducted by Leon Lovett. Novello, 1968. 


The Prisoner, an opera for schools in two acts after Tolstoy, op. 76.  Stephen Tunnicleffe.  Commissioned for the 400th anniversary of the Queen Elizabeth I Grammar School for Boys, Barnet.  First performance, March 1973, under the direction of David Patrick. Novello, n.d.  


The Wayfarers, opera for young people 1983;  Huntington, April 4, 1984. 


Jane Eyre, opera after Charlotte Bronte. 1987-1997. 


Orchestral Works: 

3 pieces for string orchestra, Ms., (lost), 1943. 


(i)    Siciliano 


(ii)    Minuet 


(iii)   Berceuse. 


Two bucolic pieces, for string orchestra. Ms., 1945 – 1946. 


(i)  Eclogue (Pastoral elegy for string orchestra. Ms., 1945, became Eclogue.) 


(ii)   Idyll. 


Threnody for orchestra, in memory of W.H. Bell. Ms., 1946. 


Concerto, in one movement, for viola and chamber orchestra. Ms., 1947. 


Symphonic Study, in B minor for orchestra.  Ms., 1948. 


A Festive Fanfare, commissioned by the Van Riebeeck Tercentenary Festival, Ms., 1952. 


Overture, op. 3.  Ms., 1951.  First performance Cheltenham Festival, 1953, by the Halle Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli. Novello, 1953. 


Divertimento, for woodwind, brass and percussion.  Ms., 1953. 


Prelude ; Dance ; Interlude ; Dance ; Postlude. 


Symphonic prelude, op. 9.  Ms., 1952 (first performance at the Durban Festival, 1954).  Novello, c1954. 


Concerto for violin and orchestra, op. 13.  Commissioned for the York Festival.  First performance in York Minster, June 1954, by Maria Lidka and the BBC Northern Orchestra, conducted by John Hopkins.  Novello, 1960. 


Symphony No. 1, op. 20.  Commissioned by the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra.  First performance in the Hull City Hall, April 1956, conducted by Willem Tausky.  Novello 1963. 


Concerto for piano and orchestra, op. 25.  Commissioned by Iso Elinson.  First performance at Free Trade Hall, Manchester, January 1959, by Iso Elinson and the Halle Orchestra, conducted by George Weldon.  Novello, 1964. 


A North country overture, op. 28.  Commissioned by the BBC Northern Region.  First performance 1958 by the BBC Northern Orchestra, conducted by Stanford Robinson.  Novello, c1958. 


Sinfonietta, op. 38.  Commissioned by the Orchestra da Camera.  First performance at the City of Birmingham Art Gallery, April 1962, by the Orchestra da Camera, conducted by Brian Priestman.  Novello, 1966. 


In Memoriam 1820, op. 39.  Commissioned by the SABC.  First performance Johannesburg 1962, by the SABC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Edgar Cree.  Novello, c1962. 


Symphony No. 2, op. 68.  Commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society.  First performance at Royal Festival Hall, London, 24 March 1971, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Joubert.  Novello, 1971. 


Concerto for bassoon and chamber orchestra, op. 77.  Commissioned by Northern Sinfonia.  First performance at Carlisle Market Hall, 12 March 1975, by the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Seaman.  Novello, c1975. 


Threnos for harpsichord and twelve solo strings, op. 79.  Commissioned by the Thames Concert Society.  First performance London, 30 March 1974, by the Philomusica of London, conducted by Louis Halsey.  Novello, c1974. 


Déploration.  Birmingham, Dec. 28, 1978.  


Temps Perdu for Strings.  London, Oct. 1, 1984. 


Chamber music: 

Intermezzo for clarinet and pianoforte.  Ms., 1944. 


String quartet, op. 1.  First performance at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Manchester, 1951, by the Macnaughton String Quartet.  Ms., 1950.  Novello, 1953. 


Sonata for viola and pianoforte, op. 6.  First performance at the University of Arts Festival, Johannesburg 1952.  Ms., 1951.  Novello, 1954. 


Miniature string quartet, op. 10.  Novello, 1956. 


Trio for violin, viola and violoncello, op. 30.  Commissioned by the Birmingham Chamber Society.  First performance at City of Birmingham Art Gallery, January 1960, by members of the Wang String Quartet.  Novello, 1960. 


Octet, for clarinet, bassoon, horn, string quartet and double bass, op. 33.  Commissioned for the Hull Festival.  First performance at the Guildhall, Hull, June 1961, by the Melos Ensemble.  Novello, 1964. 


Sonanta a Cinque, for recorder (or flute), 2 violins, violoncello and harpsichord, op. 43.  Commissioned by the Jubliate Players.  First performance at the Cheltenham Festival 1963, by the Jubilate Players.  Novello, 1964. 


Duo for violin and violoncello, op. 65.  Commissioned by Musica antica e Nuova.  First performance at the Purcell Room, London, January 1970, by Trevor Williams and Charles Tunnell. Novello, c1970. 


Kontakion, for violoncello and pianoforte, op. 69.  First performance at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, 27 September 1971, by Charles and Susan Tunnell.  Novello, c1971. 


Chamber Music for Brass Quintet.  Hereford, Aug. 22, 1985. 


Piano Trio.  1986;  Hereford, March 19, 1987. 


String quartet No. 2.  1977;  Birmingham, Feb. 18, 1987. 


String quartet No. 3. 1986; Birmingham, March 13, 1987. 


Improvisation for Treble Recorder and Piano.  BBC, London, Oct. 21, 1988. 


String quartet No. 4. Quartetto Classico. 1988;  Birmingham, Oct. 19, 1989. 


6 Miniatures after Kilvert for Violon and Viola.  Bleddfa, Powys, aug. 23, 1997. 


Piano music: 

Evocations, a rhapsoy for pianoforte. Ms., 1949. 


Divertimento, five short pieces for pianoforte duet, op. 2.  Written for Howard Ferguson and Dennis Matthews.  First performance July 1952.  Ms., 1950.  Novello, 1953. 


Dance suite, five short pieces for pianoforte, op. 21.  Commissioned by Adolph Hallis.  Novello, 1958. 


i)      Allegro ma non troppo 


ii)     Adagio 


iii)    Vivace 


iv)    Adagio con moto 


v)     Con spirito. 


Sonata no. 1 for piano, in one movement, op. 24.  Commissioned by Lionel Bowman.  Novello, 1957. 


Two easy pieces for pianoforte, Ms., 1967. 


i)        Study in legato 


ii)       Little scherzo (Written for Trinity College of Music Examining Board.) 


Sonata no. 2 for piano, op. 72.  Commissioned by the Birmingham Arts Association.  Novello, n.d.  1972;  Birmingham, March 1, 1976. 


Organ & other keyboard works: 

Two wedding marches for organ, Ms., 1951.  The Ms., of the second march is lost.  The first of the marches became the second movement of the miniature string quartet, op. 10. 


Choral Prelude on Old Hundredth, for organ, op. 15.  O.U.P., n.d. 


Passacaglia and fugue, for organ, op. 35.  Commissioned by Allan Weeks.  Novello, 1963. 


Prelude on “Picardy”, for organ, op. 55.  Novello, n.d. 


6 Short Preludes on English Humn Tunes.  Peterborough, July 4, 1990. 


Reflections on a Martyrdom.  Brimingham, Nov. 27, 1997. 


Suite for harp, op. 23.  Ms., n.d. (Orignally written for guitar.)


Choral music: 

Carol, for unaccompanied SATB.  Ms., (lost) 1943. 


Two Shakespearian lyrics, for unaccompanied SATB.  Ms., 1945. 


i)    Take, O take those lips away 


ii)    O mistress mine. 


Never weather-beaten sail, motet for SATB and organ. Ms., 1945-1946. 


The Christ-child lay in Mary’s lap, unaccompanied carol for SATB.  Ms., 1946. 


Hymn to the nativity, for soloists, chorus and orchestra.  Ms., 1947.  Revised 1948. 


Te Deum, for the centenary of Diocessan College. Ms., 1948. 


Two arrangements of carols, for SATB.  Novello 1963. 


i)   God rest you merry 


ii)  Here we come a-wassailing.



Bishops. Text William Blake.  Novello 1967. 


Plumstead. Text John Bunyan. Novello 1967. Boths hymns commissioned by the Cambridge Hymnel. 


Moseley. Text f.S. Pierpoint. Novello 1968. 


Egton Bridge. Text St. Patrick.  Novello n.d.  From Hymns for church and School, third edition. 


Choral music with accompaniment: 


Torches, carol for SATB and organ, op. 7a.  Traditional Spanish text, translated by J.B Trend.  Musical Times 1316, Novello, 1952. 


O Lorde, the maker of all thing, anthem for SATB and organ, op. 7b (text attributed to King Henry VIII).  Musical times 1319, Novello, 1952. 


Te Deum, for SATB and organ, op.8.  First performance, St. Bartholomew’s, smithfield, October 1953.  O.U.P., 1953. 


The burghers of Calais, a cantata for soloists, chorus and chamber orchestra, op. 12. G.K. Hunter.  Ms., 1954.  First performance at the Chelsea Town Hall in March 1954, by the Guildhall ensemble.  Novello, c1954. 


Great Lord of Lords, anthem for SATB and organ, op. 16.  Anonymous text.  Novello, anthem no. 1329, 1957. 


The god Pan, part song for SSA and pianoforte, op. 18.  John Fletcher.  Commissioned for the choir of Hull High School for girls.  Novello, 1955. 


Christ is risen, anthem for SATB and organ, op. 36.  1 Corinthians 15 v. 20.  Commissioned by Richard Coneely and the Choir of St Paul’s, Westfield, New Jersey, U.S.A. Novello, anthem no. 1417, 1961. 


Missa Beata Ioannis, SATB and organ, op. 37.  Commissioned by the Church of St Johnthe Evangelist, Islington.  Novello, 1962. 


Leaves of Life, a ballad cantata for solo, chorus and pianoforte, op. 41. Compiled from mediaeval English ballads.  Commissioned by, and first performed at the Farnham Festival, May 1963.  Novello, 1963. 


Urbs Beata, a cantata for tenor and baritone, chorus and orchestra, op. 42.  Genesis 28 v. 10 – 22.  Commissioned to celebrate the completion of St. George’s cathedral, Cape Town.  First performance Capte Town, 26 November 1963.  Novello, 1963. 


The Holy Mountain, a canticle for chorus and two pianos, op. 44.  isaiah.  First performance at the Barber Institure, Birmingham, March 1964, by the University of Birmingham Motet Choir, conducted by John Joubert.  Novello, 1964. 


O Lord our Lord, anthem for SATB and organ, op. 45.  Psalm 8.  Commissioned by the choir of St Matthew, Edgeley, Stockport.  Novello, N. 1441, 1964. 


Communion Service in D, SATB and organ with optional unison part, op. 46.  Commissioned by the Bishop of Wakefield and Dean Close School, Cheltenham.  Novello, 1964. 


Te Deum, SATB and organ with optional unison part, op. 49.  Commissioned for the centenary of Malvern College. Novello, 1965. 


O Praise God in His Holiness, anthem for SATB and organ, op. 52.  Psalm 150.  Novello, Musical Times 1499, 1968. 


Lord, Thou hast been our refuge, for SATB and Organ, op. 53.  Psalm 90: 1-7, 9, 13, 17.  Commissioned for the 1967 Festival of St. Cecilia. Novello, 1967. 


The Choir invisible, a choral symphony in three movements of baritone, chorus and orchestra, op. 54.  Eccliasticus, Stephen Spender and George elliot.  Commissioned for the 150th anniversary of the Halifax Choral Society.  First performance at the Victoria Hall, Halifax, with Thomas Hemsley, the Halifax Choral Society and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, conducted by John Joubert. 


Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, for SATB and organ, op. 57.  For the choir of St. George’s cathedral, Cape Town.  First performance in Cape Town, 21 August 1968.  Novello, 1969. 


Nowell, carol for SATB and organ, op. 58.  Old english text.  Novello, 1968. 


The Martyrdom of St Alban, a cantata for speaker, tenor and bass solo, chorus and chamber orchestra, op. 59.  Stephen Tunnicliffe.  Commissioned for the St. Alban’s Chamber Choir.  First performance at St. Alban’s June 1969, conducted by richard Stangroom.  Novello, 1970. 


How are my foes increased Lord, SATB, op. 60.  Psalm 3, paraphrased by George Herbert.  Commissioned by David Patrick for choir of Barnet Parish church.  Novello, c1970. 


All wisdom cometh from the Lord, anthem for SA and organ, op. 61.  Ecclesiaticus 1 vv. 1-5, 8-10.  Commissioned by Michèle Clement for the choir of Queenswood School.  First performance, July 1969.  Novello, 1971. 


I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, anthem for SSAA and pianoforte, op. 62.  Psalm 121.  Commissioned for the 75th anniversary of Rustenburg High School for Girls, Cape Town.  Novello, 1971. 


African Sketchbook, for vocal quartet SABB and wind quintet, op. 66.  Text from Hottentot Animal Poems in English translation.  Commissioned by the Grosvenor Ensemble.  First performance at the Purcell Room, London, April 1970, directed by Harry Legge.  Novello c1970. 


The Rasing of Lazarus, an oratorio in three scenes for mezzo-soprano and tenor solo, chorus and orhcestra, op. 67.  Stephen Tunnicliffe.  Commissioned for the Birmingham Triennial Festival of 1971.  First performance in Birmingham, 30 September 1971, with soloists, the Birmingham City Choir and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maurice Handofrd.  Novello, c1971. 


Behold, the tabernacle of God, anthem for SATB and organ, op. 70.  Text from Sarum Antiphon for the dedication of a church.  Commissioned for the Service of Dedication, Belfast Cathedral, 1973. Novello, c1973. 


Three Hymns to St Oswald, for SATB and organ, op. 74.  Anonymous mediaeval Latin Office Hymns.  Commissioned for the 1972 Three Choirs Festival.  First performance in Worcester Cathedral, 29 August 1972, conducted by John Saunders.  Novello, c1972. 


5 Carols for 5 Voices.  London, Dec. 16, 1973.  


Crabbed Age and Youth, for Countertenor, Recorder, Viola da Gamba, and Harpsichord.  London, Nov. 9, 1974. 


The Magus, for Tenor, 2 Baritones, Chorus, and Orch.  1976; Sheffield, Oct. 29, 1977. 


Herefordshire Canticles, for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, Boy’s Chorus, and Orch.  Hereford, Aug. 23, 1979. 


Gong-Tormented Sea,  choral sym. For Baritone, Chorus, and Orch.  1981; Birmingham, April 29, 1982. 


The Phoenix and the Turtle, for 2 Sopranos, String Trio, and Harpsichord, after Shakespeare.  Stratford-upon-Avon, Aug.23, 1984. 


Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, for Chorus and Organ.  1984; Dundee, Oct. 20, 1985. 


South of the Line, for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, Timpani, Percussion, and 2 Pianos.  1985.  Birmingham, March 1, 1986. 


Missa Brevis, for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus, and Chamber Orch.  Birmingham, Oct. 16, 1988. 


For the Beauty of the Earth, choral sym.  for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch.  Birmingham, Nov. 25, 1989. 


Rochester Triptych, for Chorus and Organ, after John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. 1991-1992.  First complete performance., Prague, April 9, 1994;  also for Chorus and Orch.  1996-1997;  Hereford, Aug. 19, 1997.


Choral music without accompaniment: 

There is no rose of such virtue, SATB, op. 14.  Old English text.  Novello, 1954.


Pro Pace, a cycle of three motets for mixed chorus.  From mediaeval Latin.  


i)  Libera plebem, op. 19.  9th century words by Sedulius Scottus.  Ms., 1955. Novello, 1956. 


ii) O tristia secla priora, op. 32.  Eugenius Vulgarius, 10th century.  Novello, 1959. 


iii) Solus ad Victimam, op. 29.  Peter Abelard.  Novello, 1958.  First performed as acomplete cycle in St. James’ Church Piccadilly, in November 1960 by the Elizabethan Singers, conducted by Louis Halsey. 


Incantation, for solo vocal quartet or SATB chorus with soprano solo, op. 22.  Text from W.B. Yeats.  Ms., 1956.  Novello, 1957. 


Welcome Yule, for SATB, op. 27.  Old English.  Novello, Musical Times 1375, 1957. 


Sweet content, part-song for solo vocal quartet or SATb, op. 40.  Thomas Dekker.  Commissioned by the Northern Consort.  Novello, 1963. 


The Beatitudes, SATB, op. 47.  St. Matthew vv 3-12.  Commissioned by the Rev. Dr P.C. Moore for the Choir of Pershore Abbey.  Novello, 1964. 


A little Child there is born, carol for SATB, op. 48.  Novello, n.d. 


Let there be light, motet for SATB, op. 56. St. Augustine.  Commissioned by the Illinois Wesleyan University School of Music, Bloomington, Illinois.  Novello, 1969. 


Four Stations on the Road to Freedom, for SATB or mixed chorus, op. 73.  Prose poems by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in English translation.  Composed for the 1972 season of Westmoreland Concerts, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Music.  First performance at the Purcell Room, London, 16 May 1972, by the English Chorale.  Novello, n.d. 


Coverdale’s carol, for SATB, op. 75.  Miles Coverdale.  Commissioned by St. Michael’s College, Tenbury.  First performance 17 December 1972.  Novello, n.d. 


Five carols for five voices, op. 78.  Old English.  Commissioned by The Scholars.  First performance St. John’s, Smith square, 16 december 1973.  Novello, n.d. 


Rorate Coeli, for Chorus.  Newcastle upon Tyne, Nov. 30, 1985.


Solo vocal works: 

Three songs, for voice and pianoforte.  Ms., 1943-1944. 


i)     Weep you no more 


ii)     The cloths of Heaven 


iii)    Sleep. 


Two songs, for voice and pianoforte.  Ms., 1944-1945. 


i)      Full fathom five 


ii)      Awake, my love 


Two songs, for voice and orchestra.  Pianoforte version only, Ms., 1944-1945. 


i)      Come away, death 


ii)      Sonnet. 


Five songs, for tenor and pianoforte, op. 5. Ms., 1951. Novello, 1953. 


  1. i)      O come, soft rest of cares. George Chapman. 


ii)     Stay, O sweet and do not rise. 


iii)     Fain would I change that note. Anonymous. 


iv)      My love in her attire. Anonymous. 


v)       Let not me for comely grace. Anonymous. 


Two invocations, for tenor and piano, op. 26.  Novello, 1960. 


i)       To winter.  William Blake. 


ii)      To spring.  William Blake. 


Six poems of emily Brontë, for soprano and piano, op. 63. novello, n.d. 


i)                  Harp 


ii)                 Sleep 


iii)                Oracle 


iv)                Storm 


v)                 Caged bird 


vi)                Immortality. 


The secret muse, for soprano and six violondcelli.  Ms., 1969.  First performance, Barber institute, Birmingham, february 1970. 


Dialogue, for soprano, counter-tenor, violoncello and harpsichord, op. 64.  Andrew Marvell.  Commissioned by the Lydian Ensemble.  First performance at the Purcell Room, London, January 1970 by the Lydian Ensemble. Novello, c1970. 


The Turning Wheel, for Soprano and Piano.  1979; Dunedin, New Zealand, Oct. 1, 1980. 


The Hour Hand, for Soprano and Recorder.  Birmingham, Sept. 1, 1984. 


The Instant Moment, for Baritone and String Orch., after D.H. Lawrence. 1986; Birmingham, March 21, 1987. 


Tristia, for Soprano, Baritone, Clarinet, and Piano, after Mandelstam.  1987; London, June 13, 1988. 


Landscapes, song cycle for Soprano and Piano Trio.  Cheltenham, Sept. 22, 1992. 


The Secret Muse, song cycle for Baritone, Flute, Clarinet, Harp, and String Quartet.  Birmingham, Dec. 5., 1992. 


3 Faces of Love, chamber cantata for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Chamber Organ or Harpsichord, and Lute, after John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester.  Oxford, April 25, 1997; also for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, and Piano, Winds

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