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Veni Emmanuel

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Jesse Ayers

Jesse Ayers

General Info

Year: 2014
Duration: c. 10:15
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Jesse Ayers
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $120.00; (digital) - $70.00   |   Score Only (print) - $30.00


Flute I-II
B-flat Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (optional)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV (II/IV optional)
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Electronic keyboard
Harp or MIDI keyboard
Piano (optional)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Vibraphone

SATB or SSAA Chorus (optional)
Narrator (optional)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

As one will surmise from the title, this work is based on the 15th-century hymn Veni, Veni Emmanuel, best known to most of us today as the Advent carol O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. I have always thought there is a progression in the text of the several verses from darkness to light. I hear an initial darkness in the first verse (“O come...ransom...lonely exile”) of the human spirit crying out for a reason for hope in a seemingly hopeless world. Each verse, to me, becomes successively brighter until by the last verse the heart is flooded with light as Christ, the source of all hope, is revealed. This piece seeks to portray this progression from gloom to joy, opening very darkly, followed by the men voices offstage yearning for hope. This is followed by successive statements of the Veni tune, while the choir literally move from dark to light as the singers process, bearing candles, from the rear of a darkened auditorium to the light of the stage.

As with many settings of Advent and Christmas music, I have also quoted related material. During the processional, the orchestra segues from O Come to What Wondrous Love, a reflection on the Advent of Christ. At the end of the processional, as the women sing the second verse, the sopranos and flutes intone the carol What Child Is This (Greensleeves) as a descant to the Veni tune. Since the music is moving from dark to light, the brightest moment of the O Come hymn, the four big chords that open the refrain with the text “Rejoice! Rejoice,” are withheld until the final few minutes of the present setting. As the choir sings these words for the first time, the brass immediately sound a fanfare on Crown Him with Many Crowns, a reminder that the babe in the manger is the “Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.”

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


  • Wisconsin Lutheran College (Milwaukee) Concert Band (Megan Steer, conductor) – 1 December 2019
  • Saint Xavier University Wind Ensemble and Chorale (Joshua Thompson, conductor) - December 2015
  • Waldorf College Concert Band and Choir (Joshua Thompson, conductor) - December 2014
  • Rossview High School Wind Ensemble (Clarksville, Tenn.) (Brock Cobb, conductor) - December 2014

Works for Winds by This Composer