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The World Premiere Recording
of a Dramatic Cantata!

 

 

Composed by Edwin Arthur Jones (1853-1911)

"one modest man who knows the power of music."
-- Edward Everett Hale

 





 










Completed in 1881, his dramatic cantata, Song of Our Saviour (Op. 16), was the crowning achievement for E.A. Jones and is a masterful work that deserves to be heard today.

It
was revised from an earlier choral work by him titled, The Nativity Hymn, one of only four works to receive honorable mention in 1879 in the Cincinnati College of Music competition, judged by Theodore Thomas, the most distinguished conductor in America at that time.

Song of Our Saviour was composed for SATB soloists, chorus, organ and orchestra.

It received its World Premiere performance over one hundred years later on May 3, 1992.

The soloists 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.

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 and 19th-century American music greats such as Edward MacDowell."

The complete cantata from the World Premiere performance is now available on a CD produced by Roger Lee Hall.

Here are the sections of this 1881 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 - Soprano

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 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 - ISAIAH 52:7

--"Look unto me" for Soprano, Alto, Tenor soloists, organ and orchestra with these words:

Look unto me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is none else. --
ISAIAH 45:22

 


In 1872, Jones was one of the violinists among the thousands of musicians who played in the famous World's Peace Jubilee and International Music Festival at Copley Square in Boston. The special invited guest at the Festival was Johann Strauss Jr. from Vienna, known as "The Waltz King." For this Festival, Strauss arranged a new waltz he called, "Jubilee Waltz." To show his gratitude, he quoted "The Star Spangled Banner" at the end of his waltz. A recording of this Strauss was made many years ago by The Boston Pops, conducted by Arthur Fiedler.

After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1876, E.A. Jones  went to Baltimore. He finished his first major instrumental composition, a charming series of piano pieces titled: The Farewell Waltzes (Op. 8), written for a chamber ensemble while at Dartmouth College, and published them for solo piano in Baltimore in 1874. The first modern day premiere performance of the piano version was in 1986 in Lexington, Massachusetts, included on the DVD, "How Beautiful Upon The Mountains - Music by E.A. Jones.

Six years later, in 1880, his First String Quartet in F Major (Op. 13) was performed at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, where it was well received. A few years later he returned to Stoughton where he remained the rest of his life. 

© 1984 - from E.A. Jones: His Life and Music

 

In the 1880s, Jones formed his own orchestra in Stoughton and they performed at many local dances, plays and concerts.  

One of his proudest moments came when his Second String Quartet, subtitled, Prelude and Fugue in G minor (Op. 22), was first performed in 1889 by the most respected chamber music ensemble of its day, the Kneissel Quartet. It was performed in the Gardner Home at 152 Beacon Street in Boston. This string quartet is dedicated to Mrs. J. L. Gardner (Isabella Stewart Gardner). Other composers represented in that 1889 concert program at the Gardner home were: Clayton Johns, Margaret Ruthven Lang, Edward MacDowell and Horatio Parker. A copy of that historic program is in the New England Music Archive.

Thanks to the efforts of E.A. Jones, the Stoughton Musical Society was the only musical organization to perform early New England music at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The Jones orchestra accompanied the chorus of 100 singers in Colonial dress and several thousand people heard them perform.

Above all other music he composed, E.A. Jones composed his greatest masterpiece in 1881 and yet, as far as is known, he never heard it performed during his lifetime.

It was fortunate that Roger Hall discovered this cantata, along with the rest of the surviving Jones music, at the Stoughton Historical Society in 1980.

As Edward Everett Hale wrote so appropriately, E.A. Jones was a musician and composer who "knew the power of music."

 

To order your copy of this CD (AMRC 0029) of the complete "Song of Our Saviour" World Premiere performance in 1992 -- click here

 


 

CD album




Here are two samples from the oratorio,
"Easter Concert" (1890) by Edwin Arthur Jones:

Vocal Quartet:
"O Thou that hearest prayer"

Soprano Soloist and Chorus:
"Lord God of Hosts by all adored"

 

Read more about this CD (AMRC 0030):

click here



 

 

 

Praise From A Famous Boston Author

 

The distinguished writer and clergyman Edward Everett Hale, wrote a description of a Sunday concert given by E.A, Jones. E.E. Hale wrote::

For two hours an orchestra, such as he had seldom heard, rendered with dignity and feeling some of the best music of the noblest composers...more than fifty years ago the musical society of this village was gathered and incorporated. That has probably helped in building up the taste of this town. But in our generation one modest man who knows the power of music has organized this grand orchestra.

Nobody pays them, nobody pays him, except the good God. ..This man was the leader, whom you saw. If he had not been too modest, you would have heard one of his own compositions. I dare say you have heard them in New York or in Cincinnati. I wanted you to see this, so soon as you asked what was possible in a community of five hundred people.

He then explained what his fictional description was based on:

I have here attempted to describe the interesting musical service which is carried on in the town of Stoughton, in Norfolk County, in Massachusetts ...I have but described in this chapter, as well as I can, the service which the people of this town render regularly under the leadership of Mr. Edward [Edwin A.] Jones.

-- Edward E. Hale, Mr. Tangier's Vacations (Boston, 1888),
pages 45-46.

 

 

 

 

Commemorative DVD


 

DVD: "How Beautiful Upon The Mountains"
Music By E. A. Jones (1853 - 1911)

Click here

 

 

 

 

Sources for this topic

The information on this page was compiled from the following articles and books by E.A. Jones biographer, Roger L. Hall, who has studied his music for the past three decades:

 

  • "DEDICATION" - Singing in Stoughton, 1762-1987
  • E.A. Jones: His Life and Music (1984)
  • "Jones, Edwin Arthur" in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, Volume Two (Macmillan Press,1986)
  • Music in Stoughton: A Brief Survey (1989)
  • New England Songster (1997) - "Trio for Strings" by E.A. Jones on
    accompanying listening tape/CD.
  • "OLD STOUGHTON" - Singing Meetings and Concerts
  • Singing Stoughton: Highlights from America's Oldest Choral Society (1985)
  • Ten Town Tunes - Music From Stoughton, 1770-1990. PineTree Music, 1998. Includes "Old Stoughton " chorus and a "Farewell Waltz" by E.A. Jones.

 

Related Links

American Music Recordings Archive [AMRA]

Massachusetts Music

New England Music Archive [NEMA]

Singing Stoughton

Society for Earlier American Music [SEAM]

Wikipedia: Edwin Arthur Jones


World's Columbian Exposition Concerts - Chicago, 1893

 

 


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