Fire in the Blood was commissioned by Dr Stephen Cobb for the 120th anniversary of the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army. The piece was composed for the celebration concert where the ISB were joined by several other staff bands from around the world to perform independently to a sell-out capacity crowd at Britain’s most famous concert hall The Royal Albert Hall. Fire in the Blood received its world premier at the ‘ISB 120’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall on June 4th 2011.
With this piece I wanted to acknowledge music that had an impact on me through my Salvation Army upbringing. When thinking of a title for this piece I had no hesitation than to reflect and re-word the Salvation Army’s motto under their famous crest ‘Blood and Fire’.
When composing Fire in the Blood I wanted to use three songs of worship that have been prevalent in the Salvation Army’s services over a number of years. Opening with Richard Phillips’ setting of Psalm 95, ‘Sing for Joy’, the music is vibrant and full of energy, I wanted to capture the spirit of the well known words of Scripture. The music then moves into a more reflective section that includes Howard Davies’ emotive song melody ‘Lord, you know that we love you’ and Laurie Klein’s worship song ‘I love you Lord’.
A re-statement of the opening Psalm setting follows and this, in turn, leads into a dramatic and powerful finale that combines two pivotal statements drawn from the slower, reflective section: I love you lord, and I lift my voice to worship you, O my soul rejoice and Lord, you know that we love you with a final flourish from Psalm 95: Come let us sing joy to the Lord!