In four weeks my oratorio choir will sing the first performance of my new cantata “Winter Nights.” The four movement cantata is scored for strings, keyboard and percussion (yes, just like Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicolas) SATB choir and tenor soloist. The poetry is from various sources, but I’ll admit my favourite poem was written by my sister Cori Martin. It’s called “Christmas Cattle” and it goes like this:
Could it be true, old Thomas Hardy’s tale:
at midnight, Christmas Eve, the oxen kneel
to Bethlehem? Our parents slept. We kept
a vigil till the magic hour, then crept
outside, across the glittering, frozen snow
to see this vision promised long ago.
And, Lo! Behold! There were the cattle in
the moonlit barn, a huddled congregation
mangered, softly lowing like singers choired
in their stalls. Yet, I feel some cattle shared
the doubts then sprouting in my childish thought.
For some were kneeling there. And some were not.
Come hear us sing it December 3rd and 4th in Toronto: www.paxchristichorale.org