Naji Hakim succeeded Olivier Messiaen as organist at L'église de la Trinité in Paris and has also done a stint as organist at the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. He was born in Lebanon, trained in France, and has been active in other European countries as well. This release brings together a group of works inspired by Danish musical materials for performance on a modern organ in the studios of Danish Radio. The result is quite a varied mix, both musically and philosophically, as a Catholic-inspired framework is overlaid with simpler Lutheran musical sources and even with folk music. The basic language draws on Messiaen and on earlier Parisian traditions, and it's safe to say that lovers of Messiaen's organ music will find this a stimulating indication that his ideas are still very much alive. The Sakskøbing Praeludier (tracks 4-15) present aspects of Messiaen's language boiled down to miniature dimensions inspired by Lutheran hymns and their texts. In place of the more mystical dimension of Messiaen's music, Hakim here draws on dance; To Call My True Love to My Dance (tracks 16-26) is a set of dance variations on a Danish folk song. If you are looking for organ fireworks, they are here (try the "Tanz-Toccata" from I Love the Colourful World, written in response to a commission requesting "a musical journey from Beirut, through Istanbul and Paris, and finally into Hardheim"). That work and several others feature hints of Arabic musical language. It's all a real mixture, but it never has the effect of pastiche; instead, it suggests a personal spiritual journey to which Hakim alludes elliptically in his own notes. Signum's engineers, working with an impressive instrument beautifully matched to its setting, have achieved sterling results, and the album can be recommended on its audiophile merits alone.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|I Love The Colourful World|
|To Call My True Love To My Dance|