YouTube Performances from Malcolm

The Webmaster writes:

With his new YouTube channel now up and running, we aim to turn the spotlight on Malcolm’s prowess as a pianist, with videos, recorded and edited by Robert Ruutel, in Malcolm’s Studio, at home in Wiltshire.

As a taster, here is Sir Edward Elgar’s iconic Chanson de Matin, originally written for violin and piano, but here transcribed for piano solo:

Goldberg Variations now released

Goldberg Variations artwork

The Webmaster writes…

Friday March 5th 2021 saw the release by Convivium Records of Malcolm’s new Goldberg Variations recording. This fresh interpretation of J S Bach’s masterpiece is available both as a physical CD, and in a variety of high definition downloadable file formats, directly from Convivium Records. It is also being carried on popular music streaming services.

Recorded in the new St Paul’s Church music studio, Malcolm’s home, it features Malcolm’s own Alan Gotto harpsichord.

The fruit of many months of planning, rehearsal and fundraising, we feel that the finished product is well worth the effort! An enormous thank you to all who supported the project through the recent crowdfunding appeal.

A Bumper Crop of Carols

The Webmaster writes…

The month of November is wearing on rapidly, Advent will soon be upon us, so perhaps it is high time to release a final bumper offering of Malcolm’s carols in anticipation of the festive season, as featured on the recent OUP promotional album of his work:

A Coventry Carol

A dramatic rendering of the 15th century text, fully explored by both choir and organ.

Make We Joy Now in This Fest

A modal feel and lively rhythms give energy to this medieval Christmas text.

Gold for a Manger Bed

An endearing melody makes this an appealing carol for all choirs. Text by Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith (Also available in the Oxford Book of Flexible Carols).

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day

An endearing tune, attractive sequences, and a memorable climax. Text: Traditional English.

There is a Flow’r

A beautifully simple setting of the 15th century text by priest & poet John Audelay.

Angels Tell the Christmas Story

A lively and exuberant re-telling of the birth of Jesus, with a text by the composer.

Child of Mary, Softly Sleeping

A charming lullaby by Bishop Dudley-Smith, with a gentle, lifting melody and warm harmonies.

God is Born Among Us

Strophic in form, the catchy refrain is characterised by a rhythmic dotted motif. Text: Traditional Polish (in translation).

A Sound of Singing Fills the Air

A jubilant Gloria combines with a charming melody and warm harmonies. Text: Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith.

This Endris Night

Lilting and buoyant, this 15th century text allows textual variety and a rousing finish.

Enjoy this festive collection; the CD also includes a number of sacred compositions for other seasons in the Church’s year, and these will appear here in early 2021. In the meantime, from the Webmaster, a happy Christmas when it arrives!

This compilation © Oxford University Press 2020. All titles © Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Another trio of carols from OUP:

The Webmaster writes…

When Christ was born of Mary free

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!

When Christ was born of Mary free

Infant Holy

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.

Infant Holy

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.

A Virgin Most Pure

This compilation © Oxford University Press 2020. All titles © Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

More Carols…

The Webmaster writes…

Time for a couple more tracks from Make We Joy:

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!

As I Sat on a Sunny Bank

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…

A Carol of Mary

This compilation © Oxford University Press 2020. All titles © Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Compositions from Oxford University Press

The Webmaster writes…

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.

The album is entitled Make We Joy, and the tracks are presented here with the permission of OUP. This compilation © Oxford University Press 2020. All titles © Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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.

Bach: Goldberg Variations

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.

Goldberg Variations