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John Joubert (1927-2019) did not compose a great deal of solo piano music. All of it – just five works – is featured here in glittering performances from Duncan Honeybourne, who commissioned the Third Sonata in 2006.

Except for the Dance Suite, this repertoire previously appeared on a 2007 Somm release featuring Mark Bebbington in the Lyric Fantasy (2000) and John McCabe in the three sonatas. Honeybourne plays the 2010 revision of the Third Sonata made some years after McCabe’s recording.

Listening to Honeybourne’s accounts, recorded last year in Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton, it is not hard to hear why Joubert was drawn to his playing. The performances are fluent and powerful, alive to the full range of Joubert’s mercurial invention, whether in the jagged rhythms of the Bartókian Dance Suite (1958) and concentrated Sonata in one movement (1957), or the more melodic lines of the Lyric Fantasy. The two later sonatas require even greater virtuosity and these accounts are a match for their rivals. Prima Facie’s sound is clear but rather two-dimensional.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Piano International, 2019 - ©Rhinegold Publishing