John Joubert by Jayne Eyre


Kenneth Woods
English Symphony Orchestra
Ruddock Hall, King Edward’s
Schools, Edgbaston
25 October 2016

It was an unmissable privilege to be invited by Kenneth Woods to the recording of the world premiere of John Joubert’s third opera Jane Eyre. It’s always a delight to have an excuse to interview Kenneth Woods. All pre-concert chats are worth attending. If you’re giving up an evening, why wouldn’t you put aside an extra hour to listen to real experts condensing a lifetime’s experience, enhancing your appreciation of the performance?

You’ve done the travelling; there is no marginal cost. Music critic and journalist Christopher Morley, and Senior New Music Editor at Faber Music, Elaine Gould’s introduction to Joubert was unmissable. I thought it would be useful.

It was essential, and at times a most moving tribute to their former teacher, who as he approaches his ninetieth birthday is extremely active, and his attendance raised the drama of the performance. Making the pilgrimage to Birmingham willingly, I was delighted by the experience. The other hacks were charming about the online Woods’ interview, and the school and its music hall are gorgeous, as indeed is Sophie Larsson who was sitting next to me.

Since I’d lauded the two productions I saw her in last year (Woods’ Mozart’s Requiem K626, and the RCM’s Britten’s Albert Herring) we had a fine time. The opera itself is stunning. This in concert production, recorded for live CD to be released on 1 March 2017, was a remarkably evocative rendition, and one was left feeling that this cast would certainly do the full-staged Jane Eyre justice.


By James Douglas

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