Angel Fire


SATB choir; organ; handbells; 3 trumpets
(additional brass quintet and harp, optionally)

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Cathedral Choral Society of Washington D.C.
The Washington Brass
J. Riley Lewis, conductor

Cathedral Choral Society of Washington D.C.

Program Notes

Angel Fire was commissioned for performance at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C for the Cathedral Choral Society’s Christmas program, 2002.   The text takes its cue from the nativity scene in the Gospel of Luke 2:8, describing the angelic host proclaiming the birth of Christ.

It is a large-scale anthem for chorus, brass, handbells, harp and organ.



Angel Fire

Gabriel, heaven’s herald
Send this night heaven’s fire.
Command your brothers—
Uriel, Michael—
Angels’ trumpet-choir,
Singers of the spangled night,
Trumpeters of God.

Pour down your lights—
Those shooting stars
That string the harp of heaven.
Send Angel Fire
To warm the world entire
That in that moment’s holy birth
Bears all our sins away from earth.

And from that scorchéd desert land
Appears a Rose—
An infant sprung from Jesse’s line
To free us all from mortal time
And give to us unending joy,
As God has given us this boy.

In hallowed glow the angels’ song
Thrummed the honied air
Light is born of Light this night—
An end to all despair.

Good Christian friends rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Jesus Christ is born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain his everlasting hall,
Christ was born to save,
Christ was born to save!
Inflame our hearts with love this day,
With angels’ fire burn sin away
And give to us unending joy,
As God has given us this boy.

Send down your light of God’s own grace
That we might know the Saviour’s face.
Burn us with your fire, burn us with your Love!

–Peter Elliot