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25th Anniversary of 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

 




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World Premiere of a Dramatic Cantata


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 - 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 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 -
ISAIAH 52:7

--"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


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the efforts of E.A. Jones, the Stoughton Musical Society was the only musical organization to perform early American music at the World's Columbia Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The E.A. Jones Orchestra accompanied the chorus of 100 singers in Colonial dress. Several thousand people heard them perform, a larger audience than the symphony concerts.

E.A. Jones was one of Stoughton's most distinguished citizens in the late 19th century. He composed his greatest music masterpiece in 1881, and yet he never had his cantata performed during his lifetime.

After more than a century, it was finally give its first complete performance and given its proper recognition for Stoughton's most respected music man from the 19th century. As Boston writer, Edward Everett Hale wrote about Jones, he was a "modest man who knows the power of music."

 

 

To order your copy of "Song of Our Saviour" on the CD (AMRC 0029) with
the World Premiere Performance from 1992 --
click here

 


 

© 1984 - from E.A. Jones: His Life and Music
by Roger L. Hall

 


 

Read about the E.A. Jones oratorio,
EASTER CONCERT
(AMRC CD 0030)

click here

 

 

 

Commemorative DVD


 

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

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.
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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

 



 

 


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