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Bethlehem, Op. 48, No. 3

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (12/23/22)
Composer: Malling, Otto
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: The Armley Schulze
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
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, and a symphony in D minor. He supported 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 Geburt Christi, Op.48 " was published by William Hansen in 1893. Consisting of 12 movements, these pieces, as with others works from the extended cycles, are described by Malling as "Mood Pictures." The set is dedicated to Gottfred Matthison-Hansen (1832-1909).

The third movement, "Bethlehem" is the culmination of all that has gone before. The scene opens with a sense of joy, but the dynamic level is quite moderate. Soon, an "exotic melody" is introduced, perhaps imitating the pipes of the shepherds. A passage of modulation brings us back to the opening material, but this time, the dynamic level is increased to the sounds of the full organ.

Malling heightens the sense of all pervading joy by introducing "Stille nacht" into the music, but the sound is not soft! Rather, we get the sensation that the whole creation rejoices with one accord.

After the final massive cadence, the last chord is reached, and the sound rapidly reduces, perhaps to show that all but the Holy Family have now departed from the manger.

The score is attached below, as well as photos of Otto Malling and one of the dedicatee, Gottfred Matthison-Hansen. Also attached is "The Nativity" by Sandro Botticelli and "Nativity at Night" by Geergen tot Sint Jins.

Peace and blessings of the season to All!
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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