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The Oxen for SATB by Marco Galvani.

Commissioned by Sansara in December 2014 for their run of concerts in Winchester in early January 2015.

Programme Notes

This piece was originally composed for SANSARA in 2014, one of my first collaborations with the group. Since then this piece has been revised multiple times, and now features on The Waiting Sky, the ensemble’s critically acclaimed second album. I wanted to create the atmosphere of children hearing a story from an elder around the fireplace, hence the glittering soprano and alto lines contrasting the meditative chordal textures in the tenors and basses.

- Marco Galvani

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. “Now they are all on their knees,” An elder said as we sat in a flock By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where They dwelt in their strawy pen, Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave In these years! Yet, I feel, If someone said on Christmas Eve, “Come; see the oxen kneel, In the lonely barton by yonder coomb Our childhood used to know,” I should go with him in the gloom, Hoping it might be so.

- Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928)

Duration: 4.5 minutes