24 December 2018

Festive Music: The Oxen

Britten composed this setting of Thomas Hardy’s poem (beginning ‘Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock’) for ‘Cicely Smithwick and the East Coker W.I.’ in 1967. The previous year, all members of the Women’s Institute in Somerset were invited to send in possible texts and a selection of these poems, which included The Oxen, was sent to Britten to choose from.