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The oxen

First line:
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock
author of text

Jonathan Rathbone’s The oxen is an original carol. The words are Thomas Hardy’s, set by the still fireside on the turn of Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. This carol highlights the more profound aspect of the season, where hope is rekindled by the birth of Jesus. Not that this hope is always obvious. Rathbone uses a rich harmonic language reminiscent of Peter Warlock to tease out Hardy’s questions and uncertainties, and to reveal beneath them a small but real hope. This carol lies on the brink of expectation, listening to the Christmas story, ‘hoping it might be so’; the question of that phrase hangs in the air, but The oxen quietly ventures an affirmative answer. It finds again, amid the darkness of Hardy’s scene and of its own harmonic setting, a glimmer of expectation.

from notes by Ted Tregear © 2015


Studio Master: CDA68299Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
What sweeter music
SIGCD182Download only
Studio Master: CDA68087Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 21 on CDA68087 [3'03]
Track 19 on CDA68299 [3'13]
Track 13 on SIGCD182 [2'55] Download only

Track-specific metadata

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