Communication is important to me. I want to be understood, enjoyed and used. I do not want to live in the enclosed and artificial world of ‘Contemporary Music’, but in the repertory of musicians whom I respect, in the schools, in the churches, and in the theatre. I also have a profound respect for the musical culture of amateurs and with this very important section of the musical public I have enjoyed some of my most rewarding musical experiences.
So wrote the South African-born composer John Joubert (b1927). This praise-worthy attitude to composing and music-making has afforded Joubert popularity as a composer in his own lifetime. Joubert has lived in this Britain since 1946 when he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He scored some early successes with his compositions, winning several awards, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize, whilst still a student. Like Mathias, Joubert has been the recipient of many awards and honours, the most recent of which is the degree of DMus honoris causa from the University of Durham in 1991.
Although Joubert was associated with the University of Birmingham for 24 years until 1986, he was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Hull in 1950. It was whilst he was there that his anthem O Lorde, the maker of al thing won first prize in the Novello Anthem Competition in 1952. This work has gained a place in every cathedral choir’s repertoire. The sturdy style of the composition makes for compulsive listening and the insistent phrases climax before quickly subsiding to a dark consclusion reminiscent of the brooding opening.
from notes by William McVicker © 1991