Fire Ritual (2020)
Commissioned by the Neshannock High School Band
Ms. Kimberly Heim, director
About the Music
Fire is a force of destruction, creation, and purification. Because of such, it has been revered by dozens of cultures from around the world throughout the course of the history of humanity. The most ancient of cultures recognized the raw power of fire, and created ceremonies - or fire rituals - that have been passed down through the ages.
While there are several different types of fire rituals, the type I had in mind when writing Fire Ritual was that of a sacrificial ceremony. I know what that sounds like, and I can assure you the piece is not about human sacrifices! Sacrificial fire rituals are meant to use fire as a method of purification - representing the burning away of any bad karma.
Fire Ritual is a thrilling, adventurous, and unpredictable musical journey. Every section of the ensemble plays an incredibly important role throughout. Musicians will not only perform on their instruments, but also add to the “ritual” using various forms of body percussion! This piece does not represent or portray a fire ritual of any specific culture. It is my personal portrayal of what I would imagine such a ceremony to be. There is no specific storyline that it follows, but it does have a general outline of a procession, dance, lighting of the fire which follows a single spark that spreads, and finally the actual burning ceremony.