The New England Music Archive (or NEMA) is a large private library of recordings and resources
intended to help preserve rare and historical vocal music from New England's past. The aim is to make available rare music and related information for educational use,
for research, performance, and recordings.
The NEMA Director is Roger Lee Hall.
For questions or comments
New England Music Archive
America's Oldest Choral Society
Civil War Songs and Hymns
Patrick Gilmore and the Great National Peace Jubilee of 1869
World's Peace Jubilee and International Music Festival of 1872
"Angel of Peace" - The Boston Peace Jubilees
New England Song Series
New England Music CDs
New England Music DVDs
Lectures and Workshops
America's Oldest Choral Society
The Old Stoughton Musical Society,
founded in 1786
Civil War Music
CD/DVD: "GLORY, HALLELUJAH" -
Songs and Hymns of the Civil War Era
Great National Peace Jubilee
The above illustration is from Patrick S. Gilmore's History of the National Peace Jubilee and Great Musical Festival (Boston, 1871), and shows the promotional flyer for the
National Peace Jubilee, held in Boston in 1869.
This five day music festival was organized by bandleader, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, to commemorate the end of the Civil War, and U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant attended the opening ceremonies. Not known for being very musical, when asked which music he liked best, President Grant replied: "the cannons!"
The Peace Jubilee featured a band and orchestra of about 1,000 musicians plus soloists and members from 103 choral groups totaling over 10,000 singers, with several huge cannons used as sound effects for some of the music. It was one of the first and best known "monster concerts" and a forerunner of today's massive concerts with thousands participating.
In addition the European classical music and a few patriotic songs, there was a new piece written especially for the National Peace Jubilee, titled: "Hymn of Peace." It was written in commemoration of the end of the Civil War and premiered during the First Day on June 15, 1869 [see No. 1 at left]
The words were written by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894) and set to the popular "American Hymn" composed by Matthias Keller (1813-1875).
Read about Patrick Gilmore's popular Civil War song,
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
World's Peace Jubilee
International Music Festival
This second music festival took place in Boston and was to celebrate the end of the Franco-Prussian War in Europe. It was once again organized by Patrick S. Gilmore and took place in June of 1872.
Known as the World's Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival, it featured over 1,000 musicians in the orchestra and 20,000 in the chorus. Among the special invited guests were two European composers, Franz Abt and Johann Strauss Jr., who premiered a new "Jubilee Waltz" for this event. There were also bands invited from England, Ireland, France and Germany, as well as the U.S. Marine Band.
Though it was considered a financial failure because of smaller attendance, this was probably the largest ensemble of musicians ever assembled in one location in the United States during the 19th century. For the occasion, several new pieces were composed.
One of them was titled, "Festival Hymn: Peace and Music" , words and music by Dudley Buck, and premiered on the second day of this World's Peace Jubilee in 1872.
This is the text written by Dudley Buck for his choral hymn:
O Peace! on thine upsoaring pinion,
Thro' the world onward flight taking,
Teach the nations their turmoil forsaking,
To seek thine eternal dominion.
From the Infinite Father
O come with thine influence tender;
And show us how duly to render,
To Him our glad praise never ending,
O Music! thy source too is holy,
Thro' thy power ev'ry heart now uniting,
Why thy magic each true soul delighting,
Blessed bond 'twixt the high and the lowly,
Thro' thee, the great Father adoring.
Thy language is known to each nation,
Thro' thee, the vast Hymn of Creation,
From tongues without number outpouring,
O Music! O Peace!
Happy blending of voices and hearts,
Of voices and hearts in sweet lays,
In union, to God's holy praise,
Ever thus your pure influence lending.
Jehovah! thou Sov'reign of nations!
Sweet Peace to our land thou hast granted,
Be praises eternally chanted,
In Music forevermore!
Aye! forever more,
In Music forevermore.
Not everyone was pleased with this massive World's Peace Jubilee.
The influential and outspoken critic, John S. Dwight, wrote:
"The great, usurping, tyrannizing, noisy and pretentious thing is over, and there is a general feeling of relief, as if a heavy, brooding nightmare has been lifted from us all."
A more positive view was stated by Louis C. Elson, in The History of American Music:
"If the Peace Jubilee of 1872 did nothing else, it at least left a better repertoire to the country societies as a legacy."
"Angel of Peace" -
The Boston Peace Jubilees
by Roger Lee Hall
Angel of Peace, thou hast wandered too long!
Spread thy white wings to the sunshine of love!
Come while our voices are blended in song—
Fly to our ark like the storm-beaten dove!
Fly to our ark on the wings of the dove,—
Speed o’er the far-sounding billows of song,
Crowned with thine olive-leaf garland of love;—
Angel of Peace, thou hast waited too long!
Joyous we meet, on this altar of thine
Mingling the gifts we have gathered for thee,
Sweet with the odors of myrtle and pine,
Breeze of the prairie and breath of the sea,--
Meadow and mountain and forest and sea!
Sweet is the fragrance of myrtle and pine,
Sweeter the incense we offer to thee,
Brothers once more round this altar of thine!
Angels of Bethlehem, answer the strain!
Hark! a new birth-song is filling the sky!--
Loud as the storm-wind that tumbles the main
Bid the full breath of the organ reply,--
Let the loud tempest of voices reply,--
Roll its long surge like the-earth-shaking main!
Swell the vast song till it mounts to the sky!
Angels of Bethlehem, echo the strain!
-- written for the National Peace Jubilee
by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1808-1894)
This "Hymn of Peace" (later titled: "Angel of Peace") was written by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes especially for the occasion and premiered on June 15, 1869 on the first day of the Grand National Peace Jubilee. It was sung to the "American Hymn" composed by Matthais Keller in 1866. This hymn received the first modern day concert performance in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the City of Boston in 1980, sung by the Old Stoughton Musical Society Chorus under Roger Lee Hall's direction at the Old West Church in Boston. It is included on the DVD.
The DVD contains a collection of documents (Microsoft Word and pdf) readable on computer. It features the most extensive resource information about
the three Boston Peace Jubilees, all organized by the distinguished bandmaster, Patrick S. Gilmore:
I - Great National Peace Jubilee (1869) - commemorating the end of the Civil War.
II - World's Peace Jubilee and International Music Festival (1872) - to celebrate the end of the Franco-Prussian War.
III - The 20th Anniversary Jubilee (1889) - a less well known series of concerts to commemorate the anniversary of the National Peace Jubilee.
In addition to the information about Patrick S. Gilmore, there are illustrations from Jubilee concert programs and an image gallery of views taken at the 1869 and 1872 Jubilees in Boston.
One of the descriptions is the amazing performance of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" by the Afro-American Jubilee Singers [shown in picture] at the 1872 World's Peace Jubilee.
Bonus Music Files on the DVD (available using Real Player) --
Peace Jubilee Music including these World Premiere recordings:
1. "Angel of Peace (A Hymn of Peace)" -- words: Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1869/ music: "American Hymn" by Matthias Keller, 1866.
2. "Festival Hymn: Peace and Music" -- words and music by Dudley Buck, 1872.
3. "Jubilee Waltz" -- music by Johann Strauss Jr. from Vienna. As an homage to the country he was visiting, Strauss
quoted "The Star Spangled Banner" in the finale. His waltz was dedicated to Patrick S. Gilmore, and first performed at the World's Peace Jubilee in June of 1872.
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with rare documents and bonus music files,
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Boston Peace Jubilees DVD
Composers Born in Massachusetts before 1920
George Whitefield Chadwick
Edwin Arthur Jones
New England Song Series