The Apostles, Op. 49 (Edward Elgar)

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Entire work

Individual movements

Prologue: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me

  • (Posted 2017-11-19)  CPDL #47495:       
Editor: Andrew Sims (submitted 2017-11-19).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 134 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: An edition with choir parts only.
  • (Posted 2007-08-11)  CPDL #14709:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: John Henry Fowler (submitted 2007-08-11).   Score information: Letter, 11 pages, 134 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: In this edition, the choir is accompanied by a piano part which is a reduction of the original orchestral scoring.
Error.gif Possible error(s) identified. See the discussion page for full description.

General Information

Title: The Apostles, Op. 49
Composer: Edward Elgar

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredOratorio

Language: English
Instruments: Orchestra

First published: 1903
Description: The Apostles, Op. 49, is an oratorio for soloists, chorus and orchestra in two parts by Edward Elgar. It was first performed on 14 October 1903. Elgar chose the text from various parts of the New Testament and the Apocrypha.

The scoring is for a large orchestra, of typical late Romantic proportions, with the addition of a shofar (usually substituted by a more conventional instrument, such as a flugelhorn). There is a double chorus with semichorus, and six solo singers representing: The Blessed Virgin and the Angel Gabriel (soprano), Mary Magdalene (contralto), St John (tenor), who also narrates, St Peter (bass), Jesus (bass) and Judas (bass).

The oratorio, like its successor The Kingdom, depicts the disciples of Jesus and their reactions to the extraordinary events surrounding them. It is a narrative work, dealing with the calling of the Apostles and their experiences of Jesus's preaching, crucifixion (which is not directly depicted), and ascension.

Movements in this work

Part I
-. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me – Prologue
1. And it came to pass in those days – The Calling of the Apostles
2. Blessed are the poor – By the Wayside
3. And straightway Jesus – By the Sea of Galilee
Part II
-. (Instrumental) – Introduction
4. And it came to pass – The Betrayal
5. The sword hath pierced – Golgotha
6. And very early in the morning – At the Sepulchre
7. We trusted that it had been He – The Ascension

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Prologue: (Chorus and Orchestra)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor: He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind – to preach the acceptable year of the Lord; to give unto them that mourn a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden that causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel.

Isaiah 61:1-3,11

German.png German translation

Der Geist des Herrn HERRN ist über mir, darum dass mich der HERR gesalbt hat. Er hat mich gesandt, den Elenden zu predigen, die zerbrochenen Herzen zu verbinden, zu verkündigen den Gefangenen die Freiheit, den Gebundenen, dass ihnen geöffnet werde, zu verkündigen ein gnädiges Jahr des HERRN und einen Tag der Rache unsers Gottes, zu trösten alle Traurigen, zu schaffen den Traurigen zu Zion, dass ihnen Schmuck für Asche und Freudenöl für Traurigkeit und schöne Kleider für einen betrübten Geist gegeben werden, dass sie genannt werden die Bäume der Gerechtigkeit, Pflanzen des HERRN zum Preise. Denn gleichwie das Gewächs aus der Erde wächst und Same im Garten aufgeht, also wird Gerechtigkeit und Lob vor allen Heiden aufgehen aus dem Herrn HERRN.