Joubert: Jane Eyre

Somm: SOMM2632

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Joubert: Jane Eyre



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Release date:

3rd March 2017




2 hours 5 minutes


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Released or re-released in last 6 months

Joubert: Jane Eyre

April Fredrick (Jane Eyre), David Stout (Rochester), Mark Milhofer (St John Rivers/Mr Mason), Gwion Thomas (Mr Brocklehurst), Clare McCaldin (Mrs. Fairfax/Hannah), Lesley-Jane Rogers (Diana Rivers), Lorraine Payne (Mary Rivers/Leah), Charles Humphreys (Rector’s Clerk), Alan Fairs (The Rev. Wood), Samuel Oram (John), Felix Kemp (Verger of Thornfield), Andrew Mayor (Briggs, Mason’s Solicitor)

English Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Woods

CD - 2 discs


(also available to download from $20.00)

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Read our exclusive interview with John Joubert about the recording and his career here.

With this month’s new release SOMM pays an affectionate tribute to John Joubert who is 90 this month. It also adds a veritable gem to the operatic catalogue: the world première of his 2-Act Opera Jane Eyre recorded live during a concert performance at the Ruddock Performing Arts Centre, Birmingham on 25th October last.

The following is an excerpt from a review by Christopher Morley, Chief Music Critic of the Birmingham Post, which appeared two days later. We quote parts of this with his permission:-

"The tears in our eyes at the end of this professional premiere of John Joubert's opera Jane Eyre were quickened not only by the ravishing music of Jane and Rochester's reconciliation, but also by the sheer emotional importance of the occasion. Jane Eyre has been a labour of love for the veteran composer, and therefore had to retreat backstage while lucrative commissions continued to pour in. And then, after its eventual completion, various disappointments stood in its way. But on Tuesday at last Joubert's vision was fulfilled, and, surrounded by his family, the now frail composer acknowledged tremendous applause after what was a tremendous performance of what is indeed a tremendous score, and with an adroit libretto by Kenneth Birkin. Certainly we can hear in the music that Joubert loves Wagner, Strauss, Janacek, Britten and Shostakovich, and in his generosity of spirit he does not deny that, but instead has the integrity to mould all these influences into a communicative language which is entirely his own. The orchestra carries the main weight of the narrative, rising to climactic moments of structure, and introducing and later recalling motifs which colour the tale's events. And the melodies are glorious, all rendered in this concert performance with immense security and colour by the English Symphony Orchestra under Kenneth Woods. David Stout's Rochester was tortured and charismatic, his baritone shifting from honeyed tenor registers to cutting lower notes. And as Jane Eyre herself, April Fredrick did more than display a perfectly-formed voice, fearless in melisma, bright at the top and reflective in descent, all the while acting with a genuine response to her character's development; she really did embody Charlotte Bronte's heroine."

John Joubert: Jane Eyre, Op. 134, Act I

Act I Scene 1: Come girls, enough (Jane, Sarah)

Act I Scene 1: Miss Eyre: Mr. Brocklehurst (Brocklehurst, Jane)

Act I Scene 1: Prayers done, the girls retire (Jane)

Act I Scene 2: What's that? Who's there? (Jane, Rochester)

Act I Scene 2: He's gone! Be still he said (Jane, Rochester)

Act I Scene 2: Now the shadows close about me (Rochester)

Act I Scene 3: This is the sweetest hour (Jane)

Act I Scene 3: Listen! The nightingale (Rochester, Jane)

Act I Scene 3: My love, lay your head (Jane, Rochester)

Jane Eyre, Op. 134, Act II

Act II Scene 1: Dearly beloved, we are gathered (Wood, Briggs, Rochester, Leah, Mrs. Fairfax, Clerk, Verger)

Act II Scene 1: That she yet lives (Rochester, Briggs, Mason, Jane, Wood)

Act II Scene 1: Bigamy! Bigamy! (Mrs. Fairfax, Leah, John, Clerk, Verger, Rochester, Wood, Briggs, Mason, Jane)

Act II Scene 2: I am the Alpha and Omega (St. John, Jane, Hannah, Diana, Mary)

Act II Scene 2: Jane, can you spare me a moment? (St. John, Jane, Rochester)

Act II Scene 2: My spirit is willing (Jane, St. John)

Act II Scene 3: Leave me John (Rochester, John)

Act II Scene 3: They said I'd find him here (Jane, Rochester)

Act II Scene 3: To put my arms about the one (Jane, Rochester)

John Joubert Interviewed by Christopher Morley

John Joubert Interviewed by Christopher Morley

The Guardian

9th March 2017


“music that is warm and glowing yet astringent, too...Any lack of studio polish is overridden by the flow conductor Kenneth Woods brings to the score, and by the principal singers, especially April Fredrick, who gleams in the title role.”

MusicWeb International

March 2017

“This set is a triumph for Kenneth Woods and his excellent cast and orchestra. It’s also a triumph for SOMM who yet again – but on a much more ambitious scale this time – have demonstrated commitment to Joubert’s music. Above all, though, this release is a triumph for John Joubert and the best possible salute to him on the occasion of his 90th birthday”

Classical Ear

May 2017


“This recording of that event coincides with Joubert’s 90th birthday in March 2017 and delivers the perfect tribute. It’s a thrilling, emotional experience characterised by a score rich in feeling (variously conjuring Wagner, Strauss, Puccini, Britten and others) and dramatic focus...Kenneth Woods's assured conducting coaxes committed playing from the English Symphony Orchestra with vocal performances throughout strong and characterful”

BBC Music Magazine

June 2017


“April Fredrick’s passion and clarity rings out from every register, and David Stout’s searing cries during Act II are hard to forget. Kenneth Woods and his orchestra revel in the opera’s melodic beauties and haunting instrumental colours. The same pleasures await the enquiring listener”

Gramophone Magazine

June 2017

“John Joubert is an experienced professional when it comes to writing for the lyric stage and his latest opera only reaffirms the fact Joubert has plenty of theatrical nous and knows a thing or two about the precarious love triangle that exists between a piece of literature, a piece of music and a story to be told on a stage.”


July 2017

“He [Joubert] sketches time and pace with clean motivic gesture; he allows the text to shape the melodies; and, above all, his music has a logic that creates its own, essentially symphonic momentum.”

Musical Opinion

July 2017

“The two-act structure does work beautifully, the cast is uniformly strong, their sense of commitment and discovery of their superb score palpable.”

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