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Debut - Canticum - French Organ Music / Naji Hakim


Release Date: 06/02/1998 
Label:  Emi Classics Special Import Catalog #: 72272   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  César FranckJean LanglaisOlivier MessiaenNaji Hakim,   ... 
Performer:  Naji Hakim
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Within the decade after Jean Langlais and Olivier Messiaen died, a no less distinctive voice emerged in the world of French organ composition. Naji Hakim, born in Beiruit and schooled in Paris (with Langlais and others), began writing spellbinding and pictorial works blending by now customary French Catholic mysticism with an impassioned sense of the melodies and rhythms of the Middle East. What has been consistent and inspiring about Hakim's work has been his musical integrity and unwillingness to "dumb down" his language in order to expedite sales or make his scores more litur-gically "pastoral" (a buzzword denoting unobtrusive, simple, and otherwise une hallenging).

Hakim currently plays at La
Read more Trinité, the organ loft Olivier Messiaen made famous. In fairness, the 1868 La Trinité Cavaillé-Coll organ was never one of the better-known Parisian examples of the builder's work. Messiaen added mutations and upperwork to it, primarily to serve the needs of his own scores, and for more than four decades Messiaen played very little literature on this organ other than his own scores and, of course, liturgical improvisations.

Both on Sundays and in this recording Naji Hakim has shifted to a balance of literature for the rituals at La Trinité. Here, the choice of repertoire can hardly be considered anything too adventurous. Clearly, Hakim plots musical ancestry. Franck and Vierne (along with Widor) were progenitors of the modern French idiom. Langlais taught Hakim, Messiaen preceded him at La Trinité.

Naji Hakim (along with others of the present generation like St. Sulpice's Daniel Roth) mirrors a new benchmark in Parisian organ performance, for better or worse, part of the gathering tide of globalism. Hakim as an organist, thus, has as much in common with any recent virtuoso graduate of, say, the Eastman School of Music, or an itinerant British recitalist as he does with the French dynasty harking back to Franck. Hakim's tempos in the Vierne Carillon push past what we have come to expect of French artists at home in the heroic expanses of their basilicas. Hakim's feel for chant and chant-inspired themes is more impatient than that of Dupré or Cochereau for instance.

If, at times, Naji Hakim gives the impression of being somewhat impetuous with the pace of these works, that restlessness accounts fully for the brooding passion of his own memorable music. In those two scores, Hakim strikes a welcome synergetic balance between mystical, virtuoso, colorisi, and lyric elements. His paraphrase on Pange Lingua summarizes his musical instincts perfectly. Its convulsive rhythmic outbursts, fueled by small splinters of the noble chant theme, symbolize unbridled ecstasy. All the while, Hakim the composer demands much of Hakim the performer. His restlessness, surefooted willingness to dart through musical details, and propensity for quickness ideally suit his own music.

If a few listeners remember this organ from the old and technically inferior discs cut in 1955 and 1956 by Olivier Messiaen for the Ducretet-Thomson label, mainly sets of Messiaen's larger organ collections, they will also recall an instrument in very poor condition. Here, after conservator class restorations by organ builder Olivier Glandaz, the Cavaillé-Coll sounds rejuvenated and basks in both the fine acoustic and EMI's fine reproduction.

-- Haig Mardirosian, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Chorales (3) for Organ: no 3 in A minor, M 40 by César Franck
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 12 Minutes 24 Secs. 
2.
Pieces (3) for Organ: no 2 - Cantabile in B major, M 36 by César Franck
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 3 Secs. 
3.
Paraphrases gregoriennes (3), Op. 5: no 3, Hymne d'actions de grâce "Te Deum" by Jean Langlais
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933-1934; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 24 Secs. 
4.
Paraphrases gregoriennes (3), Op. 5: no 1, Ave Maria, Ave maris stella by Jean Langlais
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933-1934; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 4 Minutes 42 Secs. 
5.
La nativité du Seigneur: no 9, Dieu parmi nous by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 48 Secs. 
6.
Livre du Saint Sacrement: no 16, Prière après la Communion by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 48 Secs. 
7.
Canticum by Naji Hakim
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 29 Secs. 
8.
Pange lingua by Naji Hakim
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 10 Minutes 5 Secs. 
9.
Pièces de fantaisie - Suite no 3, Op. 54: 6th movement, Carillon de Westminster by Louis Vierne
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1927; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 58 Secs. 
10.
Pièces de fantaisie - Suite no 3, Op. 54: 3rd movement, Etoile du soir by Louis Vierne
Performer:  Naji Hakim (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1927; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1997 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Cantabile in B Major, M.36
No. 3 in A minor from 3 Chorales
VI. Carillon de Westminster
III. Etoile de Soir
I. Ave Maria, Ave maris stella from Trois Paraphrases grégorienne, Op. 5
III. Hymne d'actions de grâce (Te Deum) from Trois Paraphrases grégorienne, Op. 5
Dieu parmi nous from La Nativité du Seigneur
Prière après la Communion from 'Livre du Saint Sacrement'
Canticum: Conditor alme siderum
Canticum: Rorate coeli desuper
Canticum: O Emmanuel
Pange Lingua: I. Pange Lingua
Pange Lingua: II. Nobis datus
Pange Lingua: III. In suprenae nocte coenae
Pange Lingua: IV. Verbum caro
Pange Lingua: V. Tantum ergo
Pange Lingua: VI. Genitori genitoque

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