• John Joubert
  • The Hour Hand (1984)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Halcyon Ensemble with funds from West Midlands Arts

The hour hand
Cock around the clock
Horizontal beams
Low tide
Winter sun

  • rec
  • Soprano
  • 11 min

Programme Note

John Joubert: The Hour Hand
Song cycle for soprano and recorder, op. 101

i. The Hour Hand
ii. Cock round the Clock
iii. Horizontal Beams
iv. Low Tide
v. Winter Sun

The texts of the five songs which make up this cycle are all taken from the collection Time for Sale by Edward Lowbury, and, as the title indicates, are all in some way related to the idea of time. In 'The Hour Hand' the recorder imitates the ticking of a clock - albeit the minute hand. I 'Cock round the Clock' I make my first - and so far only - nod in the direction of jazz. 'Horizontal Beams' enables the recorder to exploit its capacity to imitate bird-song, while 'Low Tide' evokes the eager chatter of children at the seaside. In 'Winter Sun' the mood is more intense, with its central image suggested by the recorder's flutter-tongued introduction. The rising melodic pattern with which it concludes, however, is meant to convey the poem's basic message of hope.

The Hour Hand was commissioned by the Halcyon Ensemble and first performed in 1984 by Sarah Stobart (soprano) and Alan Davis (recorder).
© John Joubert