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 6th movement, "Herod" is a wild and violent depiction of the horrible act of the slaying of the infant boys at Bethlehem. Their is chaos and brutality in the wildness of the scene.
In the central section, I interpreted the music as the caravan of the King's leaving on the start of the journey. I do not see them witness the slaughter, and there is nothing in scripture that says that they did. They return home by another route, fearing that they would be ambushed. If you listen, you can almost hear them urging their camels forward, as heard in the "grace notes." The pace is quick, but not frantic.
Suddenly in the midst of darkness, "How brightly shines the Morning-Star" appears to guide them home.
As they disappear, you still hear echos of Herod's atrocity, but finally it disappears, and then two final, massive chords brings it all to an end.
Tomorrow, the Kings arrive at home.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Otto Malling.