Music for Seafarers


A collection of seafaring and maritime music, featuring Portsmouth Cathedral Choir, Malcolm Archer and the Convivium Singers.

SKU: CR010-Complete Categories: , , Tag:


About this release

An original and exciting collection of anthems, hymns, part-songs and folk-songs celebrating the Exchange’s longstanding support of seafarers and England’s rich, maritime musical tradition. Presented by The Baltic Exchange, London, in partnership with Portsmouth Cathedral Choir, Malcolm Archer and the Convivium Singers.


“I listened to this new CD from start to finish with the greatest enjoyment and admiration”
Sir David Willcocks, British choral conductor, organist and composer

“I’ve just listened to your recording of Vast Ocean of Light – it sounds wonderful!  The organ presence and colour is excellent, the pacing is very satisfying, the choir sings beautifully, and, best of all, there is a real feeling of vastness to it.  Thank you!”
Jonathan Dove, British Composer featured on ‘Music for Seafarers’

“As ever, Malcolm captures the beauty of the words with arching melodies and moving harmonies. It is easy to see and hear why his music is so popular – a joy for singers and listeners alike. His innate understanding of vocal technique and accessibility shine through”
Andrew Lumsden, Director of Music at Winchester Cathedral

“Convivium Singers are a group of young professional singers with a thirst for high standards, and it has been a delight to work with them too. I do commend this company to you, especially if you’re seeking recording opportunities with your own choir”
Malcolm Archer, Director of Music, Winchester College

“Take this disc, Music for Seafarers, unique in addressing the seafaring community. Savour it; the pure beauty of Malcolm’s arrangements for “Here I am Lord” and “Nearer, my God, to Thee”. Then, in contrast, the “Anthem for Seafarers”, specially commissioned by The Baltic Exchange, full of menace and the power of the sea. The extraordinary breadth and sensitivity of Malcolm’s composition made him the perfect choice when we decided to celebrate in music the role of the seafarer”
Michael K. Drayton, Past Chairman of The Baltic Exchange

“Convivium Singers and members of the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir have delivered beautiful performances of an appealing collection of repertoire. I’m delighted to have my work represented by these fine musicians and look forward very much to our future collaborations”
Carson Cooman, Composer in Residence, Harvard University, The Memorial Church, featured on ‘Music for Seafarers’

(February, 2013)

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.

Portsmouth Cathedral Choir

The Cathedral Choir is made up of twenty-four boy choristers and fourteen gentlemen (made up of seven lay-clerks and up to seven choral scholars) who contribute to the pattern of daily cathedral worship. The choristers rehearse on weekday mornings at 8.00am before a normal school day in preparation for the week’s music. In any normal week the Cathedral Choir sings for at least 5 services.

The choristers are educated at Portsmouth Grammar School that, as such acts as our choir school. Opportunities exist for counter-tenor, tenor or basses who, having completed their school or university education, are looking for the chance to sing and work within a cathedral foundation for a year with a Choral Scholarship.

The choir plays an important role in the life of the Diocese and City by singing at Ordination, Confirmation, Civic and Remembrance services. The choir is often invited to sing at churches throughout the Diocese of Portsmouth. The Royal Marines’ School of Music is now based in Portsmouth, and the choir and Orchestra or Band of the Royal Marines regularly work together.

The choir has been at the heart of recent DDay Commemorations in Caen and Bayeux in Normandy, France and here in the UK. The ceremonies saw BBC Radio broadcasts, a concert in Caen with the London Mozart Players and appearing at the International Service of Remembrance at Bayeux in the presence of HM The Queen, President of France and The Prime Minster and an International Drumhead Service on Southsea Common in the presence of The Princess Royal.

The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and death of Lord Nelson involved the choir performing at a number of international and national events. Notable amongst those was the International Drumhead Ceremony during in the International Festival of the Sea in June, and at events aboard Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, during Trafalgar Week (including three BBC radio and TV broadcasts). Our ‘Nelson year’ concluded with a live broadcast of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3 on the day 200 years ago that Nelson’s body sailed from Portsmouth to London for his State Funeral.

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.

  • They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships - Grayston Ives
  • Vast Ocean of Light - Jonathan Dove
  • Here I Am, Lord - Daniel Schutt, arr. Malcolm Archer
  • Windswept Skies - Carson Cooman
  • Anthem for Seafarers (Eternal Father, Strong to Save) - Malcolm Archer
  • Never Weather-Beaten Sail - Charles Wood
  • Sailing - arr. Peter Hunt
  • Sea Fever - John Ireland
  • The Water Is Wide - arr. William Drakett
  • Blow the Wind Southerly - arr. Timothy Salter
  • There Is an Old Belief - Hubert Parry
  • Crossing the Bar - Hubert Parry
  • Nearer, My God, to Thee - Lowell Mason, arr. Malcolm Archer
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Catalogue number: CR010

Choir Portsmouth Cathedral Choirs
Choir Convivium Singers
Organ / Piano Marcus Wibberley, William Drakett, Joe Waggott, Dr. David Price
Conductor(s) Malcolm Archer, David Price, William Drakett, Alexander Norman

Cover Image Courtesy of Stena Bulk
Photography Various
Engineering Adaq Khan, Kevin Hodgson
Sound Assistance Kevin Hodgson
Mastering Adaq Khan
Producer(s) Malcolm Archer, Andrew King, Alexander Norman, William Drakett, David Millinger
Creative Director John Bevan
Executive Producer Adrian Green

Recorded 17 September 2010, 2 March, 16, 17 April, 9, 10 July, 2012
Venue Portsmouth Cathedral
Total Duration 54 mins

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