Sad news: Malcolm Walker – a former press officer at EMI and editor of Gramophone magazine, as well as a discographer and historical recording project manager – has died at the age of 82.
Jan 25, 2023 | News | 8 comments
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Malcolm Walker may never have been a public figure, but his contribution to the classical recording industry was immense. His time as Editor of The Gramophone spanned an eventful decade. He won the trust and respect of record companies from the major international labels to the small independents.
Malcolm was a ‘record man’ through and through. His encyclopedic knowledge of the history of classical recording and meticulous attention to detail came into its own when, after stepping down as Gramophone Editor, he took over the Gramophone Catalogue, the industry ‘bible’. He soon won international recognition as an outstanding discographer, his many publications essential research sources for later historians. His musical tastes were wide, but he was an influential admirer of Delius and loved Elgar.
Malcolm’s wide circle of friends from the classical recording world and music journalism will miss his good company. His legacy will long be valued.
Very sad news. As John says above, Malcolm was a dyed-in-the-wool record man with a love and knowledge of the medium and its vast catalogue. The number of such people now left dwindles alarmingly. The last time I met him was a couple of years ago on Malvern Station platform at an event organised by the Elgar Society during the Worcester Three Choirs Festival. We could have talked of historical recordings – and of our mutual love for recorded Elgar – for many more hours. Yet he was always very much clued up about what was being recorded these days, recently emailing me with enthusiasm about Martyn Brabbins’ Vaughan Williams Fifth Symphony. How sorely he will be missed by his friends and family.
Indeed – the tributes by John and Andrew speak for us all; the classical record business has lost a giant and we have all lost a true friend.
Malcolm was fully occupied in his discographical work at Gramophone when this still green music and audio enthusiast joined the editorial staff in 1986. Immediately welcoming, he was patient and supportive, always happy to help.
We kept in touch when our careers diverged, meeting occasionally for lunch. Kindly and appreciative, Malcolm had a profound knowledge of the catalogue and a deep understanding of music itself, but he wore it lightly. He was a good listener in both senses and will be much missed.
Malcolm was instrumental in getting me to tackle both the LSO and Decca discographies, so I am much indebted to him for information and encouragement. Corresponding with him was always a pleasure and an education.
Philip…Good to see your name among the warm and deserved tributes to Malcolm. If and when you have a moment, I wonder whether you’d be so kind as to give me a quick call on 07767 685179 (I haven’t a phone number for you). All best, Andrew Keener
I share from America my sadness at Malcolm’s passing. He was a great friend and immensely helpful in my small discographic enterprises. He shared willingly his deep knowledge of the recorded music trade. He will be dearly missed by our small tribe of record folks and others who benefited from his knowledge and friendship.