For SATB and Organ. Calypso rhythms abound throughout, from a quiet opening with the organ part resembling a fountain of bells, the musical texture builds and builds, through a central section with gorgeously creamy harmonies, towards a triumphant finale. The last verse offers plenty of opportunity for a large organ registration, full voice unison signing with a subtle soprano descant. A fun carol to sing!
In complete contrast, is Infant Holy. The opening verse is a lovely lilting melody, perhaps equally well suited to a solo soprano voice, semi-chorus, or a full top line. The solo character of the melody continues in verse two, supported by unaccompanied ATB, leading to a vuluptuous close-harmony coda, ending a very restful carol.
A Virgin Most Pure
A return to a syncopated rhythmic style in this carol, with arguably a perfect occasion to showcase some colourful “chiffy” flute stops on great or choir organ in the accompaniment. The musical texture offers a wide variety of vocal performance styles, from unison singing in the first two verses, giving way to rich unaccompanied SATB in verse three, accompanied choir (perhaps featuring a semi-chorus) in verse four, building to a big full choir unison-with-descant final verse.
First up, we have a jaunty carol, As I Sat on a Sunny Bank, set for SATB and Organ. Great fun to sing, no doubt, with a bubbly four-against-three rumba-style rhythm, and an organ part just crying out for plenty of musical colour. To top it all off, there are a couple of vintage Malcolm Archer key changes for performers and listeners alike to savour!
To follow, A Carol of Mary. In contrast to Sunny Bank, this is a gently waltzing lullaby, again set for SATB, and a warm and soothing organ part. Perhaps perform this carol by candlelight, the quality of the light reflecting in the warm tones of the music…
Malcolm’s catalogue of choral compositions is extensive, and a substantial body of his work has been published over the years by Oxford University Press. OUP, in association with Bob Chilcott, The Oxford Choir, John Rutter, and Convivium Records, has produced a promotional compilation of recordings of Malcolm’s works from their catalogue, and over the next few weeks, we will be showcasing these recordings, making them available to you to audition on this site.
For starters, and dare I say it, Christmas is only a little way over the horizon! Many of the works on Make We Joy are Christmas Carols, and we begin with two examples:
A Little Child There Is Y Born
Dating from 2011, A Little Child There Is Y Born is a typically cheerful and spritely example of Malcolm’s writing. This is a setting of a C15th text, celebrating Jesus’ birth, and is scored for SATB and Organ.
Jesus Christ The Apple Tree
Written for SATB and Organ, Jesus Christ The Apple Tree could equally well be performed in an alternative version for SSA. The charming text from the season of Advent is taken from Divine Hymns and Spiritual Songs of 1784.
All of the tracks presented in these posts should play directly in most current web browsers, but in case of difficulty, do please contact the webmaster here.
In October 2020 Malcolm is planning to record Bach’s Goldberg Variations for Convivium Records. This is a very exciting project and has been a long time in planning and practising. Malcolm has always felt a great affinity for this masterpiece of the keyboard repertoire and is looking forward hugely to the recording which will take place in the converted church where he lives where he will play on his own Alan Gotto harpsichord.
He has launched a Crowdfunder Appeal which will run from 19th September till 10th October to raise the money to make this project happen. If you are interested in finding out more about it or in generously supporting the recording, you will find the link to his Crowdfunder page here.
(20% of the proceeds will be given to research into COVID-19 vaccine)
As a special offer during 2020, you can have your own bespoke introit composed for you or your choir, for a bargain fee of just £1000. From this, 20% will be donated to the charity for research into finding a vaccine for COVID-19.
It may be that this work could be
composed in memory of someone close or as a celebration. I am very
open to discussing texts and specific requirements. The work can be
with or without organ and would be approximately 2 minutes in length,
and would bear a dedication wording of your choice. In time, the work
will hopefully become published and bear your own dedication. If a
short Christmas Carol is preferred, this is also possible.
The work will be set using Sibelius
software, and delivered in camera ready format for your choir to use.
This offer stays open until December of this year. Please get in touch if this idea interests you.
We are delighted to announce the opening of this new site, showcasing the talents and versatility of Malcolm Archer as a talented performer and composer. Keep an eye on this page for announcements about Malcolm’s appearances, new compositions, and the occasional article about the music he makes, instruments he plays, and more…
In the meantime, if you have any technical questions or comments about this site, please contact Rob, the webmaster, using the button below: