First version of the cantata
In a letter from Cincinnati, Ohio, only three works received honorable mention in the Cincinnati College of Music competition, judged by Theodore Thomas, the most distinguished conductor in America at that time. He wrote the following statement dated January 29, 1881:
Besides the one which was chosen ["Longfellow's Golden Legend"], there were several meritorious, and musician like works such as the "Tale of the Viking" and "Eastern Idyll" and "Nativity Hymn" [by E.A. Jones].
Apparently, Jones had completed that work in 1879 and submitted it for the competition. In August of 1881, he retitled that cantata: Song of Our Saviour. It was to be his crowning achievement in music.
World premiere performance
It took more than a century to be finally heard in its complete form and its World Premiere performance was on May 3, 1992 at Saint James Church in Stoughton, Massachusetts.
The soloists for that premiere performance were:
Linda Brookfield, soprano
Donna Ames, alto
Michael Duarte, tenor
Mark Anderson, bass.
The Old Stoughton Musical Society Chorus and Orchestra, was conducted by Dr. Raymond Fahrner, who also edited the cantata for this performance.
Boston Globe article
There was an article about this World Premiere performance of the Jones cantata in the Boston Globe newspaper, "Giving life to a lost masterpiece," by William A. Davis on May 4, 1992.
The article credits musicologist Roger Hall, who found the surviving Jones music "in his own hand, wrapped in plain brown paper and tied up like old newspapers." The article also mentions that "standing out among the trove of songs and string quartets that Hall unearthed was Jones' undoubted masterpiece: a cantata entitled 'Song of Our Saviour' that has been compared to the best of Brahms."
The complete cantata from the World Premiere performance is now available on a CD.
Stoughton Journal newspaper headline
"Long-lost Stoughton masterpiece will premiere May 3"
The newspaper article then gave this announcement:
"On Sunday, May 3, the Old Stoughton Musical Society will conclude its 206th concert season with the world premiere of the piece...The long-lost cantata was discovered in 1980, wrapped in an unmarked brown paper package in the basement of the Stoughton Historical Society.
Raymond Fahrner, editor and conductor of the work, was quoted saying the piece was"written in the Romantic style of Brahms and Wagner. It is distinguished by its beautiful melodies, rich and varied harmonies and colorful, dramatic use of the orchestra."
Here are the sections of the cantata:
No. 1: Introduction - Orchestra
No. 2a: Recitative - "For God so loved the world" (John 8:16) - Bass
No. 2b: Chorus - "Break forth into joy" (Isaiah 52:9) - Chorus
No. 3: Air - "How beautiful upon the mountains" (Isaiah 52:7) - Alto
No. 4: Chorus - "Awaken thou that sleepest" - Eph. 5:14)
No. 5a: Recitative - "He was oppressed" - Isaiah 53:7 - Tenor
No. 5b: Air - "Greater love hath no man" - St. John 15:13
No. 6: Chorale - "Behold what matchless, tender love"
No. 7a: Recitative - "O Lord, why hast made us to err" - Isaiah 63:17
No. 7b: Air -"If ye love me, keep my commandments" - St. John 14:15
No. 8: Trio - "Look unto Me and be saved" - Isaiah 45:22
- Soprano, Alto, Tenor Trio
No. 9a: Recitative - "Unto Him that loved us" - Rev. 1:5-6 - Bass
No. 9b: Chorus - "Glory be to God in the highest"
No. 9c: Quartet - "Hallelujah, Amen"
No. 9d: Chorus and Quartet (Finale)
Click the link in the box below to hear two excerpts from this cantata:
--"How beautiful" for Alto soloist with orchestra and solo cello with this text:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publiseth salvation -
--"Look unto me" for Soprano, Alto, Tenor soloists, organ and orchestra with this text:
Look unto me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is none else. -- ISAIAH 45:22