As today (5 December) is Christina Rossetti‘s birthday, we thought it apt to feature her in our Christmas carol countdown. ‘In the bleak mid-winter’ was based on the hauntingly beautiful poem by Rossetti, which was first published (without music) in the January 1872 issue of Scribner’s Monthly. Its first appearance with music was in 1906, in The English Hymnal (London, Henry Frowde, Oxford University Press, and A. R. Mowbray & Co.), with a tune composed expressly for the Hymnal by Holst, It has since been set to music by several other composers, notably Harold Darke.
Simon has himself set a Rossetti poem to music. ‘Remember Me’ was inspired by Christina Rossetti’s extraordinary sonnet ‘Remember’ (she wrote it in 1849, when still a teenager; it was only finally published in 1862), now seen as a classic Victorian poem of mourning and remembrance. To listen, click the orange button below: