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.
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.
Malcolm’s newly renovated church home in Staverton, Wilts, is now available for hire as a recording or rehearsal venue, along with a range of unique and historic keyboard instruments which may be used as part of any hire arrangement.
For further information about this new and exciting venture, please click HERE, or use the STUDIO item in the main site menu.
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 dramatic rendering of the 15th century text, fully explored by both choir and organ.
A modal feel and lively rhythms give energy to this medieval Christmas text.
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).
An endearing tune, attractive sequences, and a memorable climax. Text: Traditional English.
A beautifully simple setting of the 15th century text by priest & poet John Audelay.
A lively and exuberant re-telling of the birth of Jesus, with a text by the composer.
A charming lullaby by Bishop Dudley-Smith, with a gentle, lifting melody and warm harmonies.
Strophic in form, the catchy refrain is characterised by a rhythmic dotted motif. Text: Traditional Polish (in translation).
A jubilant Gloria combines with a charming melody and warm harmonies. Text: Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith.
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 weekend I recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations in my Wiltshire church, using my harpsichord by Alan Gotto, a copy of an instrument by Christian Zell built in 1728 and now in a museum in Hamburg. It all went very well and it was tremendously satisfying to be able to record this great work after all the preparation. I am very grateful to George Richford (producer) Adaq Khan (sound engineer) and Adrian Green (executive producer of Convivium Records) for their support and hard work. I am also grateful to all those who contributed through Crowdfunding UK towards the costs of the project. The recording will be released in the Spring of 2021 and I hope that those who hear it will enjoy the performance.
Incidentally, the pulpit behind the harpsichord was preached in on several occasions by the English poet and priest, Rev George Crabbe, of Peter Grimes fame…
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.
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: