Otto Valdemar Malling (1 June 1848 – 5 October 1915) was a Danish composer, from 1900 the cathedral organist in Copenhagen and then Director of the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen.
In his later career he mainly composed organ works and vocal music, but he also wrote a significant amount of orchestral music. His organ music brought him some reputation abroad, but after his death he was soon forgotten in his native country.
"Die Festtage des Kirchenjahres, Op.66" were first published by Wilhelm Hansen in 1897. They are dedicated to F. A. S. Winkel.
There are 12 movements, each depicting a "scene" from the Church Year. This one, the first in the opus, is for Christmas Eve.
I honestly can not think of a more perfect setting of the quiet (at first) joy of that special night. Everything begins softly, and strains of "Stille nacht" can be heard immediately.
Soon, the excitement (NOT the speed) increases, and after a modest climax, the dynamics fall back, before steadily increasing to the joyous, grandiose conclusion.
This one is a real winner, and all of it taking place in less than the two and a half minutes! :-)
The score and photos of Otto Malling are attached below.