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Fire of the Living God, The

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Jesse Ayers

Jesse Ayers

General Info

Year: 1995
Duration: c. 9:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Jesse Ayers
Cost: Score & parts $100    Score & PDF parts $60    Score only $25    ORDER HERE


There are two versions available:

  • Expanded instrumentation (for surround-sound brass choirs on either side of audience)
  • Standard instrumentation (standard-size concert band)

Flute I-II (expanded version includes divisi a4)
Oboe I-II
English Horn (optional)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra Alto Clarinet (optional)
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (optional)
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II (behind audience)
Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone

B-flat Trumpet I-II-III (6 trumpets in expanded version, 3 left and 3 right)
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III (4 trombones in expanded version, 2 left and 2 right)
Euphonium (2 euphonium parts in expanded version, 1 left/1 right)
Tuba (2 tuba parts in expanded version, 1 left/1 right)


Percussion I-II-III (5 percussionists in expanded version)

  • Orchestra bells (glockenspiel)
  • Marimba
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone
  • Chimes
  • Snare drum
  • Bass drum
  • Cymbals
  • 4 large field drums
  • 4 deep tom-toms
  • Suspended cymbal
  • Bongos
  • Tam-tam
  • Cowbell

Several extra "performers" surrounding the audience twirling whistling tubes (photo here, scroll down)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Fantistic piece! The audiences on tour loved it! The group and I love it as well...the hit of our tour. Bravo! —Dr. Richard Fischer, Concordia University Chicago

The Fire of the Living God is the third and final movement of ...and they gathered on Mount Carmel, a surround-sound work based on the great contest in ancient Israel between Elijah and the prophets of Baal recorded in I Kings 18. The work was begun in March 1994 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, while the composer was an artist-in-residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and was completed in Knoxville, Tennessee, the following March. The work received its premiere in 1995 by the University of Kentucky Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Richard Clary and has been recorded by the Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Scott Doebler. This composition has been supported with grants from the American Music Center and Meet The Composer.

After the day-long, fruitless incantatations and self-mutilation of the prophets of Baal, a nervous tension fills the air as all await the outcome of Elijah's short, simple prayer. A blazing light appears in the sky, speeding earthward; intense fire falls on the altar, consuming not only the sacrifice, but the very stones of the altar itself. The people fall on their faces in awe of the true God, and the false prophets are slain for their wickedness. Contrast of texture is the predominant parameter in this final movement. Massive blocks of sound, some static and others rhythmically active, are juxtaposed against each other. In the closing seconds of the piece, the two brass choirs join forces to play the last phrase of Martin Luther's Ein Feste Berg (A Mighty Fortress), which is quoted as a benediction to Elijah's deliverance and vindication as he stands alone against a host of 450 adversaries.


  • Finalist, 2013 American Prize for Composition - Band Division
  • Selected by international jury to represent the USA at the 2003 World Music Days in Slovenia
  • Selected by national jury (US) to be performed at the 2005 Society of Composers National Conference


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


  • Windiana Concert Band (Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conductor) - November 2011
  • University of Rhode Island Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dr. Gene Pollart, conductor) - March 2011
  • Wind Orchestra of the Music Academy of Castelo de Paiva, Spain, (Hugo Lopes, conducting) - October 2010
  • Rossview Hich School Symphonic Band (Brock Cobb, conductor) - May 2010, Clarksville TN
  • Concordia University Irvine Wind Orchestra (Dr. Jeff Held, conductor) - October 2009, tour venues in TX and CA
  • University of North Carolina Greensboro Wind Ensemble (Dr. John Locke, conductor) - October 2005
  • Malone College Symphonic Band (Jonathan Willis, conductor) - April 2004
  • Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band (Dr. Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conductor) - March 2004, various tour venues n CA
  • California State University Bakersfield Concert Band (Dr. Doug Davis, conductor) - November 2003
  • The Slovenian Armed Forces Orchestra (Milivoj Surbek, conducting) - September 2003 at World Music Days Festival, Slovenia
  • Ohio Private Colleges Honors Band (Dr. John Owen, conductor) - January 2002
  • Heidelberg College Symphonic Band (Dr. John Owen, conductor) - April 2001
  • Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band (Dr. Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conductor) - March 2000, performances in NY, OH, & Ontario
  • Concordia University Chicago Wind Symphony (Dr. Richard Fischer, conductor) - March 2000, various tour venues in CA
  • Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band (Dr. Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conductor) - October 1999
  • Symposium XXI for New Band Music, The Virginia Intercollegiate Band (Jesse Ayers, conductor) - February 1996
  • The University of Kentucky Wind Ensemble (Richard Clary, conductor) - April 1995

Works for Winds by This Composer