Today, January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany.
Otto Valdemar Malling (1 June 1848 – 5 October 1915) was a Danish composer, from 1900 the cathedral organist in Copenhagen and from 1889 professor, then from 1899 Director of the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen. He was born in Copenhagen, and became a pupil of Niels Gade and Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann. in his later career he mainly composed organ works and vocal music, but he also wrote a significant amount of orchestral music, as well a substantial cantata "Der hellige Land", and a symphony in D minor. He was a co-founder and vice-conductor of The Concert Society, Copenhagen (1874), supporting himself as organist at various Copenhagen churches. His scores of organ music brought Malling some reputation abroad, but after his death he was soon forgotten in his native country.
"Die heiligen drei Könige" (The Three Holy Kings) was published by William Hansen in 1907. It tells the complete story of the Epiphany, beginning with Christmas night and ending with the Three Kings journeying back to their homes.
The 7th movement, "Homewards" is a noble and dignified conclusion for the entire "suite."
In this movement, we hear the Kings in a sort of processional, travelling again, but this time, the direction is homewards! There are a few "harmonic uncertainties" here and there, but this not unexpected, as scripture tells us that they journey home "by another route." You'll also hear some "melodic references" from other movements. It is calm dignified, and always hopeful and expectant.
Towards the very end, the main theme of the movement begins to crescendo louder and louder. Home must surely be in sight.
All of a sudden, and quite unexpectedly breaks forth the final phrase of a VERY famous chorale, which I will leave for my listeners to identify! :-)
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Otto Malling, and a photo of the tapestry. "The Adoration of the Magi," by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.