Archer: At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners


Malcolm Archer’s At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners, featuring Convivium Singers.

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About this release

The Royal School of Church Music presents, in Association with Convivium Records, an exclusive Malcolm Archer recording At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners. This is the first single composer disc of Malcolm’s music to be released in a decade, and includes many recently commissioned works.

Composer’s Notes

I started to compose at the age of 11, and this has been an important musical force in my life ever since. Since I have spent most of my life working with choirs, the main part of my output has been choral music, however, I have also written music for the theatre, including three musicals, as well as choral and orchestral music and other instrumental works.

My composition teachers were Humbert Sumsion at the Royal College of Music and Alan Ridout at Cambridge. Both taught me the importance of musical economy and never using more notes than are necessary to convey a desired musical effect. My style is essentially lyrical and approachable, but with a distinctly individual harmonic character, and some of the greatest in influences on my music have been the English composers Vaughan Williams, Finzi and Howells, with a leaning at times toward the French composers Ravel and Debussy.

My love of poetry was inspired by my mother, who taught speech and drama, and from an early age I was acting in plays and going in for speech and drama classes in the Lytham St. Annes Music Festival, as well as many other classes in piano and violin. Those early years taught me to love words, and this has certainly shaped both my compositions and also my approach to choir training, where the importance of expressive diction and conveying the mood of the words is my constant creed. Read more

About the artists

Convivium Singers

Convivium Singers is an award-winning, critically acclaimed choral ensemble, providing opportunities for young singers at the early stages of performing careers, as well as for talented musicians who have chosen not to pursue careers in music. The ensemble specialises in performing and recording sacred and secular music by living European and American composers. It was recently described as ‘an extraordinarily good choir to listen to’ by BBC Radio 3’s ‘CD Review.’

Convivium Singers have released a number of recordings in recent years, collaborating with companies, including the Baltic Exchange, London, and publishers, notably the Royal School of Church Music. Composer discs include works by Jonathan Dove, Margaret Rizza, Malcolm Archer, Carson Cooman, Hugh Benham and Michael Higgins. They have also delved into early music, and their CD of motets by Peter Philips (Convivium Records) received a Choir & Organ five-star review. The choir was filmed at Portsmouth Cathedral in 2014 for a special Songs of Praise programme on BBC1, as part of the DDay70 commemorations.

The Singers often work with established conductors and composers to introduce contemporary music to wider audiences. They were prize-winners at the Tolosa International Choral Contest (2011, Spain). The ensemble has also performed at Milan’s La Fabbrica del Canto festival and in Hradec Králové at the Czech choral festival Sborové slavnosti.

Convivium Singers have a diverse repertoire from traditional choral music to folk-songs, partsongs and popular arrangements.

Malcolm Archer

Malcolm Archer is one of the world’s leading church musicians. He has enjoyed a distinguished career in cathedral music. Previous posts include Norwich, Bristol, Wells Cathedrals and most notably Director of Music at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He is now Director of Chapel Music at Winchester College, where he is responsible for the College’s ancient choral foundation; conducting the Chapel Choir and teaching the organ.

During his time at St. Paul’s Cathedral he directed the choir for several State services, including the Tsunami Memorial Service and the London Bombings Service. He also directed 80th Birthday Service for HM The Queen. Buckingham Palace invited him to compose a special anthem which he performed live on the BBC. His many broadcasts and recordings from Wells and St. Paul’s have received critical acclaim, and the Daily Telegraph voted his CD of Christmas music from St. Paul’s as Editor’s Choice. His choir at Winchester College has an enviable reputation through their many broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. They tour international touring and have produced a number of highly praised recordings.

Malcolm Archer is much in demand as a choir trainer and choral and orchestral conductor, and he has directed concerts, workshops, courses and summer schools in various parts of the globe, as well as working with several leading orchestras. He is also the Musical Director of the Jean Langlais Festival in France. As an organ recitalist he has played in nine European countries, the USA and Canada, and his CDs include repertoire as diverse as J.S. Bach and Olivier Messiaen, as well as his own music.


As a composer, Malcolm Archer receives regular commissions from both sides of the Atlantic, and he has many published works. Recently he has composed works for the Southern Cathedrals Festival, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Festival of the Sons of the Clergy and an anthem for the enthronement service of the Bishop of Winchester. He has also jointly edited two books for Oxford University Press: Advent for Choirs and Epiphany to All Saints for Choirs. His compositions are widely performed and greatly enjoyed for their approachable nature and singability.


He has been an adjudicator for the BBC Young Chorister of the year competition, and has over the years had 12 of his own choristers in the final including two winners, the most recent in 2015. Malcolm was a judge for the BBC Songs of Praise School Choirs competition for four years, becoming a chair of the judging panel for two of those competitions. He is also a frequent contributor to that programme as both interviewee and musical arranger. He has recently been a judge for the British Composer Awards.

Malcolm Archer has served as council member of the Royal College of Organists, and he is a member of the council of the Guild of Church Musicians. They recently awarded him the Fellowship for his services to church music over many years. In 2009, he was awarded the FRSCM (Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music) for his work in three cathedrals, and as a composer of church music.

  • At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners - Malcolm Archer
  • Carol of the Stable - Malcolm Archer
  • Suo Gân - Malcolm Archer
  • An Irish Blessing - Malcolm Archer
  • In War, Resolution - Malcolm Archer
  • Missa Montis Regalis - Kyrie - Malcolm Archer
  • Missa Montis Regalis - Gloria - Malcolm Archer
  • Missa Montis Regalis - Sanctus - Malcolm Archer
  • Missa Montis Regalis - Benedictus - Malcolm Archer
  • Missa Montis Regalis - Agnus Dei - Malcolm Archer
  • Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester - Malcolm Archer
  • A Harvest Anthem - Malcolm Archer
  • Sing of a Stable by an Inn - Malcolm Archer
  • Anthem for Seafarers (Eternal Father, Strong to Save) - Malcolm Archer
  • Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing - Malcolm Archer
  • Nearer, My God, to Thee - Malcolm Archer
  • All Creatures of Our God and King - Malcolm Archer
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Catalogue number: CR014

Choir Convivium Singers
Additional Choir (Anthem for Seafarer’s) Portsmouth Cathedral Choir
Trumpet (In war, resolution) Samuel Moffitt
Organist David Price
Conductor Malcolm Archer

Photography Jacqui Marie Photography, Peter Langdown, Portsmouth Cathedral, Russell Falkingham
Engineering Adaq Khan, Kevin Hodgson
Mastering Adaq Khan
Producer Alexander Norman
Creative Director John Bevan
Executive Producer Adrian Green

Recorded 15, 16, 17 April, 9, 10 July, 2012
Venue Portsmouth Cathedral
Total Duration 62 mins

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