Oratorio for Soloists, Chorus and Piano
Edwin Arthur Jones (1853-1911)
"one modest man who knows the power of music."
-- Edward Everett Hale
Premiere Performances of an Majestic Oratorio
The largest work composed by Edwin Arthur Jones was his oratorio, Easter Concert (Op. 28), published in a piano-vocal score by White-Smith Music in Boston in 1890.
Jones was a friend of one of Boston's most respected musicians, B.J. Lang, who attended the first performance of the oratorio, then titled Easter Anthem (Op. 23), in Stoughton on April 11, 1887. Lang spoke briefly at the intermission and called the oratorio "a beautiful and grand affair." He went on to say that he wished he could transport the whole chorus and orchestra of 150 members to his city twenty miles away, "to give the people of Boston an idea of what Stoughton could do!"
Easter Concert was modeled on Handel's Messiah and is in three parts, ending with a majestic fugal movement, "Great God of Nations!," for vocal quartet and chorus.
The first modern day performance of this Jones oratorio, edited and conducted by Roger Hall, was performed on April 26, 1981 by the Old Stoughton Musical Society Soloists and Chorus. Excerpts from this concert performance are included on CD, "Great God of Nations - E.A. Jones: His Life and Music -- AMRC 0008.
The 80 minute oratorio was performed again in 1984. Both performances were from the piano-vocal score. Unfortunately, the orchestral parts are now lost.
The May 6, 1984 performance featured Marion Hollis and Linda Brookfield, sopranos; Nancy Davis and Ethel Wallace, altos; Michael Duarte, tenor; David Benjamin, bass; The Old Stoughton Musical Society Chorus; Edward Wood, piano; Earl Eyrich, conductor.
Thw complete1984 concert performance is now available on a CD - AMRC 0030, produced by Roger Hall.
These are the sections of the oratorio --
click on the links to hear sample music:
1. Prelude: Edward Wood, piano
Recitative and Air: "Now is Christ risen" & "Rouse thee! O Zion! - David Benjamin
3. Soprano and Chorus: "Sing we to the Lord" - Marion Hollis
4. Soprano Recitative and Air and Quaret: "O Death, where is thy sting?" &
"Thanks be to God" -
Linda Brookfield, Nancy Davis, Michael Duarte, David Benjamin
Chorus: "Lord God of Hosts! by all adored"
6. Prelude: Edward Wood
7. Choral: "Behold what matchless tender love" - Chorus
Quartet: "O Thou that hearest prayer" - Linda Brookfield, Nancy Davis,
Ethel Wallace, Michael Duarte
9. Recitative and Air: "He was oppressed" &
"Greater love heth no man" - Michael Duarte
10. Chorus: "We trust alone in Thee"
11. Quartet: "In heavenly love abiding" - Marion Hollis, Nancy Davis, Michael Duarte,
12. Air: "Saviour like a shepherd lead us" - Nancy Davis
13. Chorus: "Now may He who from the dead"
14. Prelude: Edward Wood
15. Recitative and Air: "Mighty is Thine arm" & O Lord most high" - David Benjamin
16. Chorus: "The Lord is King! Let all rejoice"
17. Soprano Air & Quartet: "Praise the Lord" & "To Jesus, our exalted Lord" -
Linda Brookfield, soprano; Nancy Davis; Michael Duarte; David Benjamin
Chorus: "Hail! All Triumphant Lord!"
19. Recitative & Air:
"And when all things shall be subdued" &
endless fame" - Michael Duarte
20. Finale Chorus & Vocal Quartet: "Great God of Nations! Mighty King!"
© American Music
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for Soloists, Chorus and Piano
(Total playing time = 78:59),
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EASTER CONCERT CD
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World Premiere of a Cantata
In 1881, E.A. Jones completed a dramatic cantata, Song of Our Saviour (Op. 16). It was his masterpiece and it is a work that deserves to be heard again.
Read about the World Premiere concert performance in 1992 of this majestic work and hear a few music samples from a new CD
(AMRC 0029)-- click here
Stoughton's Two Musical Societies
Jones was a member of the two choral societies in town:
The (Old) Stoughton Musical Society --founded in 1786 and now the oldest choral society in the United States. Jones joined this society in 1871. For this musical society's Centennial in 1886, Jones was the lead violinist and director of the orchestra.
The Musical Society in Stoughton --founded in 1802 and Jones joined in 1881. This society was disbanded in 1982. Jones composed a special commemorative piece for the Musical Society in Stoughton in 1886. It was a fuging tune in the style of 18th century New England music, and he titled it: "Old Stoughton."
Praise From A Famous Boston Author
The distinguished writer and clergyman, Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909), wrote the following description of a Sunday concert:
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.
"How Beautiful Upon The Mountains"
Music By E. A. Jones (1853 - 1911)
A multi-media DVD has been produced by Jones biographer and musicologist, Roger Lee Hall, for the
centennial anniversary of the death of Edwin Arthur Jones.
This DVD, playable on any computer, contains Word documents about the life and music of Jones and also these additional...
Music album 1: Song of Our Saviour (Dramatic Cantata)
The 1992 World Premiere performance of the complete cantata, Song of Our Saviour (1881) for soloists, chorus, orchestra and organ.
Soloists: Linda Brookfield, soprano; Donna Ames, alto; Michael Duarte, tenor; Mark Anderson, bass; Old Stoughton Musical Society Chorus and Orchestra,
Richard Hill, organist; Raymond Fahrner, Conductor.
This recording is also available on a separate CD (AMRC 0029) -- click here.
Music album 2: Sacred and Chamber Music by E.A. Jones
Music from concerts (1980-1986):
--Prelude and Fugue in G minor for organ (1878) - Richard Hill, organist
--Praise Ye The Lord (Dartmouth College Glee Club Chorus,1874) -
Tenors and Basses of Old Stoughton Musical Society, Earl Eyrich, conductor
--EASTER CONCERT (1890), highlights from World Premiere concert performance by soloists and chorus of the Old Stoughton Musical Society, David Hanson, organist, Roger Hall, conductor.
--The Farewell Waltzes (1874) - David Hagen, pianist.
Video program 1: Centennial Tribute to E.A. Jones
Cable television program hosted by Roger Hall in 1987 commemorating the centennial of several important works by Edwin Arthur Jones. The program includes interviews with Old Stoughton Musical Society Conductor, Earl Eyrich; Pianist, Richard Hill; and Stoughton Town Historian, Howard Hansen. Music excerpts from several concerts performed by the Old Stoughton Musical Society and from the String Quartet in G minor (1887), first performed at the home of Isabella Stewart Gardner in Boston in 1889.
Video program 2: 150th Birthday Party for E.A. Jones
Stoughton Historical Society, June 28, 2003:
Musicologist and E.A. Jones biographer, Roger Hall, speaks about the life of Edwin Arthur Jones and plays sample recordings of his music on the 150th anniversary year of his birth.
To receive this commemorative DVD about the music of E.A. Jones,
plus audio and video bonus features playable on yourcomputer,
just donate to help support this preservation website,
payable by credit card to PineTree Productions,
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To order this commemorative DVD with documents, two music albums, and two video programs,
write for the total cost by donation
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E.A. Jones Commemorative DVD
The information on this page was compiled from the following articles and books all of them by E.A. Jones biographer, Roger Lee Hall, who has studied his music for the past three decades:
- 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
- "OLD STOUGHTON" - Singing Meetings and Concerts,
- Singing Stoughton: Highlights from America's Oldest Choral Society (1985)
- Ten Town Tunes - Music From Stoughton, 1770-1990.
Stoughton: PineTree Music, 1998. Includes "Old Stoughton " chorus and a "Farewell Waltz" by E.A. Jones.
American Music Recordings Archive [AMRA]
Felix Mendelssohn in
Franz Joseph Haydn in
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Massachusetts
New England Music Archive [NEMA]
Society for Earlier American Music [SEAM]
Wikipedia: Edwin Arthur Jones
World's Columbian Exposition Concerts - Chicago, 1893
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