COMPOSERS: John Joubert
ALBUM TITLE: Joubert
WORKS: Reflections on a Martyrdom; Prelude on the Old Hundredth; Six Short Preludes on English Hymn Tunes; Prelude on ‘Picardy’; Prelude on ‘York’; Recessional, Passacaglia and Fugue
PERFORMER: Tom Winpenny (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: TOCC 0398
Tom Winpenny is evidently on a mission to champion the organ music of 20th- and 21st-century UK composers, whether native or by adoption, having released discs devoted to Stanford, Williamson, McCabe, and Lennox and Michael Berkeley. Neatly timed to coincide with the 90th birthday celebrations, this disc devoted to Joubert surveys his output over some half-century, a significant proportion of which appears on CD for the first time.
A generous selection of hymn preludes include the Six Short Preludes of 1990 – modelled in some respects on Bach’s Orgelbüchlein – and the most recent of them, a prelude on ‘York’ (used by Vaughan Williams to launch his opera Pilgrim’s Progress). Forsaking the preludial path are the tender Recessional, a transcription of a lament from Joubert’s 1954 opera Antigone and two more substantial works that frame the programme: Reflections on a Martyrdom, rooted in a cantata originally premiered in St Alban’s Abbey, and the more ambitious Passacaglia and Fugue of 1961 – its broad theme given ideal space in which to unfold before Winpenny engineers the Fugue’s build-up with aplomb. It’s what you would expect from a guide so consistently sympathetic, articulate and engaging.