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IN MEMORIAM -- COMPOSER -- AUTHOR -- MEMORABILIA -- CONCERTS

GM CHORAL WORKS

Veritas mea
Nun dimittis tertii toni
Terribilis est locus iste
Quem vdistis pastores
Verbum caro factum est
Jesu, redemptor omnium
Matins and Lauds of the Dead
Tenebrae Responsories
St Mark Passion
Adoremus in aeturnum
Benedic anima mea Domino
O salutaris hostia
Deus tuorum militum
Caeli Deus
Ingrediente Domino
Gradual for Tuesday in Holy Week
Offertorium for Missa pro Defunctis
Te lucis ante terminum
Piacare Christe
Magnificat 1, 2, 3, 4, & 7 toni
Misere mei, Deus
Desiderum animae
Scapulis suis
Veni creator spiritus
Infant So Gentle (arr.)
Missa Cantatibus organis

The Veni Creator is a very famous and well-loved hymn to the Holy Spirit. It is sung at Pentecost and at ceremonies such as confirmations and ordinations, as well as when the Cardinals enter the conclave to elect a new Pope. The alter- nate verses are sung to a setting by the harpsichordist Sir George Malcolm (1917–97), who was Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral from 1947 to 1959. Before taking up this appointment, Malcolm was Director of Music at St Mary's Clapham, for whose choir he composed this setting of the Veni Creator in the 1930s. (Herald Records)

George Malcolm's Veritas mea inhabits an atavistic soundworld. Grounded in neo-Renaissance modality, it absorbs the church harmonies of Bruckner and transforms them into a mixed-style creation of deep sincerity. (Hyperion Records)

Missa ad praesepe

This wonderful setting for the Christmas Mass was written for the Choir at Westminster Cathedral, the ink barely dry on the manuscript when it was first performed.

Publisher: Kevin Mayhew
Catalogue no:  1450391
Composer/author: George Malcolm
ISBN/ISMN: 9781844178100

GM PUBLISHED INSTRUMENTAL WORKS

Variations on a Theme of Mozart (for 4 harpsichords)
Bach Before The Mast (for harpsichord or piano)
Evening Hymn (for vln & piano)
Impromptu (for vln & piano)

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Canon in honour of Cecilia Kynaston (Courtesy Nicolas Kynaston)

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Veritas mea (Westminster Cathedral Choir/Baker)

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Kyrie from Missa Ad Praesepe (WCC/Baker)

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Terribilis est locus iste (Sheffield CC/Taylor)

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Infant So Gentle - arr. GM (WCC/Mawby)

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This is a disc for those who love the acoustic, the atmosphere and the musical traditions of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in London. Aside from many historical works from the Catholic liturgy, it also features three more recent directors and composers associated with Westminster – George Malcolm (d1997); David Bevan (b1951); and Colin Mawby (b1936). Of these modern pieces, Mawby’s Justus ut palma has real drama and is well performed. Malcolm’s Scapulis suis has a certain distinction, too, though his other pieces are somewhat derivative (with nods to Allegri and Bruckner).

George Malcolm(1917-1998) is perhaps better known as a performer than for his compositions. His work as Master of the Music at Westminster Cathedral from 1947-1959 is highly regarded, and it seems likely that all the works by Malcolm on this recording were written with that choir in mind. The Missa ad praesepe (Mass of the Crib) is an unusual and unique work that is both playful and simple; it is also surprising as a Mass in that it is intended for a particular time of the liturgical calendar, Christmas. For much of the piece the composer makes use of basic block chord harmonies in the choir parts, whilst the organ weaves attractive folk song-like melodies. Verbum caro factus est derives its impact from the contrast between Chorale-type verses for unaccompanied lower voices and the fanfare response for full choir and organ. Terribilis est locus iste and Veritas mea owe much to the motets of Anton Bruckner. (Lammas Records)

BBC Music Magazine

George Malcolm's Missa ad praesepe then provides a kitsch injection of Christmas fervor into the middle part of this disc with a thrilling improvised organ strepitus (a wild celebratory noise) by Martin Baker in the Gloria. This is a mass setting that bears some repeated listening as it contains a few beautiful moments as well as some fine singing. Ed Breen - Musical Criticism

The first thing that struck this listener upon hearing their opening piece, George Malcolm's Ingrediente Domino, is the sheer volume that this group of 10 men and 18 boys can produce. Even from the back of the cathedral, their fortes reached a decibel level that would challenge an electronically amplified pop/rock concert held at St. John's (hopefully, no such concert would take place in that sacred space!). Their voices filled every corner of the cathedral with an abundance of sound, creating the illusion that St. John's was somehow a much smaller setting. But the fortes and fortissimos were never forced, never out of control, nor compromised in tone, pitch, or blend. And still they made quick and seamless transitions to pristine pianos and pianissimos, a true sign of vocal and choral mastery.
WCC,
Cleveland Classical ( 2011

George Malcolm (of Westminster Cathedral fame) wrote a full set of the Mattins Responsories for Christmas. They are published by Mayhew in a collection called 'Christus natus est' and which is referred to, rather bizarrely, as 'a choral suite for Christmas'. In fact it is 8 resposories in Latin. Simple SATB + org and very effective.

Under the direction of Martin Baker, the latest disc from the male voice choir of Westminster Choir is a selection of music for Lent, St. Joseph and the Annunciation. Gregorian Chant alternates with polyphony. The highlight is perhaps the setting by George Malcolm of the psalm Miserere mei.  Universal Music

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Seldom does Cathedral Concerts present a group so well suited to the spacious acoustic of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis as the Westminster Cathedral Choir. Their home base, London's Roman Catholic Cathedral, is similar in size; their Master of Music, Martin Baker, knows the space and works accordingly.

On Wednesday night, the choir sang well, particularly given the fatigue that accompanies touring. Their sound is, by design, fuller than that of most English cathedral choirs; it's assisted greatly by having boys sing alto, as well as two adult falsettists..

The concert opened with a very effective work, George Malcolm's "Miserere mei Deus." Baker made superb use of the Cathedral Basilica's spaces — the side and back galleries, as well as chapels at the front — to create an air of mystery and anticipation, with solo men's voices and the boys singing together, all unseen. (Oct 2011)

Gramophone 2009

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* Plainchant and polyphony can be rather an acquired taste - but although Christmas is past, the sheer beauty of this CD is for the whole year.The plainsong is mesmerisingly beautiful and George Malcolm's Missa ad praesepe was a revelation to me. Matthew Martin's setting of Adam lay ybounden was another eye-opener - one of the finest arrangements of these words I've ever heard. Whether or not you come from this ecclesiastical tradition - and the present reviewer does not - there is something to be savoured from Martin Baker's fine choir, and to be listened and re-listened to for a long time. Amazon (2013)

* At the 11 o’clock Choral Service on the Epiphany, the setting of the mass will be that of George Malcolm, who was from 1947-1959 Master of Music at London’s Westminster Cathedral. His beloved Missa ad praesepe (‘Mass of the stable’ or ‘Mass of the crib’), long a favorite setting in the repertoire of this choir, this year is offered on this most appropriate occasion, the Feast of the Epiphany. St Davids Church (2013)

* The relative rarity was George Malcolm’s Missa ad praesepe. I’d quite forgotten that after singing it with the Chantry Singers some years ago, I’d recommended it to the conductor of Priory Voices. It’s a straightforward tuneful piece, which has something of the spirit of Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit, although the Agnus Dei is more Viennese in style and there is the odd 20th-century inflection thrown in.
Ken Willes says: I was interested to read this piece is still being performed. I was the lead alto in Westminster Catherdral Choir from 1954 to 1959. I sang the first performance of this work, as well as first recorded performance of Britten’s Missa Brevis in B. Would really love to get a photocopy of the Malcolm score for old times sake if possible I now live in Sydney Australia.
vhk10 says: I first came across it with the Chantry Singers of Bath, and I believe it was in the repertory of St John’s RC Church in Bath. Priory Voices borrowed their copies from Farnborough Abbey.
Virginia Knight (2013)

* SIR,-1 am surprised that there has been no appreciation in the Catholic Press of the beautiful " Missa ad praesepe" composed by the Master of the Cathedral Music, Mr. George Malcolm, for the Christmas Season. Here is a composition not only of great musical distinction, but also of remarkable devotion. It is probable that no composer since Eigar has so successfully translated the feeling of deeply spiritual phrases into music. and I think it a great pity that this fine work 'should have passed unnoticed. No effort seems to be spared to praise "The Little Singers of • . (any other country but our own!)" yet in Westminster we have boys who are unsurpassed in quality of tone, excellence of diction, and expression of feeling, and this is undoubtedly due to the unremitting toil and outstanding ability of the Master of the Cathedral Music. Perhaps it is the deliberate subservience of the Cathedral Choir to the liturgical splendour of the Cathedral ceremonies which somewhat excuses the neglect of praise where it is surely deserved. B. Bulbeck, Catholic Herald (1978)

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George's Christmas Missa ad Preasepe has world-wide popularity. A Google search brings up over 2,600 mentions. (DL)

MISERE MEI DEUS

George Malcolm

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Elisa Mangina

Beautifully sung music for Lent from Westminster

Billed as “a sequence of music for Lent, St Joseph and the Annunciation”, this latest offering from Westminster forsakes musical blockbusters in favour of giving listeners a taste of the more sombre offerings presented on a daily basis in the cathedral during the weeks preceding Easter. For those familiar with the Catholic liturgy, it will be no surprise that many of these works come from the rich and varied tradition of Gregorian chant. Attende, Domine, an attractive Lenten chant sets a penitential, meditative tone for the program that never descends into mawkishness. Other chants include Missa IX Cum iubilo and the seldom heard Credo IV. 

An interesting mixture of old and new works form the bulk of the program. Motets by English composers Byrd, Parsons and Tallis (whose cause was championed by the cathedral’s founding master of music, Richard Terry) are contrasted with selections from Palestrina, Croce and Guerrero. (Byrd’s Emendemus in melius and Croce’s In spiritu hunilitatis are particular highlights.)

Works by George Malcolm, Colin Mawby and David Bevan (former musicians of the cathedral) celebrate the lively musical tradition of the choir. Malcolm’s haunting Scapulis suis and Mawby’s tuneful Iustus ut palma are movingly sung and the entire program is illuminated by the choir’s customary clarity and the projection of the boys’ voices through their unique “continental” style of production. Given the quality of the performances and the variety of the music, listening to this disc will be no penance at all. Limelight (2013)

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George Malcolm’s tenure as Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral between 1947 and 1959 was legendary. Malcolm fostered a ‘Continental’ sound (still very much in evidence today), which perfectly suits the choir’s core repertory. Malcolm’s Miserere mei, Deus is an alternative setting of Psalm 51, the lynchpin of the Ash Wednesday liturgy. It switches between upper voices and lower voices in the unadorned chant of the second mode, as well as in Malcolm’s sonorous polyphonic expansion and variation of the chant. The setting ends with all voices joining for the second half of the ‘Gloria Patri’ in statuesque descant.
Hyperion, Jeremy Summerly (2013)

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The rest of the Mass was as usual, except that it was sung to the haunting melodies of George Malcolm’s Hollywood-influenced “Missa ad Praesepe". Rev Gordon Reid (2011)

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VARIATIONS ON A THEME OF MOZART

David Hansell has lovingly transcribed this excellent pastiche of George's, written for the annual four harpsichord jambouree held at London's Royal Festival Hall. It is freely available for download and performance, with the kind permission of David and the copyright holder Christopher Hirons.

Notes and score and parts HERE

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[Eileen] Joyce is most fondly remembered for playing on the soundtrack of films including The Seventh Veil (1948) and Brief Encounter (1949). A film based on her life, in which she appears, was entitled Wherever She Goes (1951). Arthur Bliss and George Malcolm wrote music for her. Naxos Records

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