Hakim Plays Hakim: The Schuke Organ of the Palacio Euskalduna of Bilbao


Naji Hakim returns to disc on Signum with a new and powerful collection of organ works. Hakim is joined by Marie-Bernadette Dufource for the central piece of the programme, a set of meditation for two organists inspired by Lucas Cranach the Elder’s woodcuts of the Apostles.

Completed in 2000, the Schuke Organ of the Palacio Euskalduna is housed in a magnificent concert hall of wood and steel – itself inspired by the Euskulduna shipyards that once occupied the area. A modern instrument, it is well-suited to the nuanced voicings of modern organ compositions, as well as being sympathetic and adaptable to the great works of the past.


What people are saying

"Naji Hakim’s extraordinary virtuosity has never been in doubt" Choir and Organ

"… Hakim is joined by his wife, Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet, and so perfect is their musical partnership that it is easy to overlook that there are two players involved." Gramophone

Naji Hakim, Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet Organs

Release date:30th Jun 2014
Order code:SIGCD389
Barcode: 635212038925

Naji Hakim’s extraordinary virtuosity has never been in doubt, and the brilliance of the reed stops en chamade on the one hand and some delicious flutes on the other give him ample opportunity for contrasts. Much of the disc is devoted to chorale and Gregorian melodies with modern accompaniments, as in the main work, Die Apostel (in which Hakim is joined by his wife), where St Peter’s forthright character is duly acknowledged. But Hakim’s harmonies and textures are rather limited in scope. A disc to dip into, perhaps, rather than hear straight through. 

Choir and Organ

Already well represented on disc, the music of Naji Hakim is the focus of the first in a new series from Signum Classics. Whether this is a series devoted to his music or to the 2000 Schuke organ in Bilbao is not clear – Hakim has recorded on Signum before – but both are worthy of further investigation.

The Petite Suite of 1983 affords us a splendid opportunity to sample some of the littering reeds crowning the 71 speaking stops of this crisp and bright-voiced instrument. The other works here were all written since 2006 and are linked by their unbridled exuberance and cheerfulness. From the opening Toccata (2011) through the the closing ‘Rondeau’ from the 2009 suite Arabesques, Hakim pushes out extremely fast and jolly playing. Even Schubert’s usually lyrical ‘Ave Maria’ becomes a breathless romp in Hakim’s 2012 paraphrase, and was St Peter really the circus clown depicted in Die Apostel (2011)? Were it not Hakim himself playing, I might wonder whether occasionally enthusiasm for speed gets the better of technical discretion; but if the intention is to deliver the joy inherent in this music, he succeeds brilliantly. 

For Die Apostel, portraits of the 12 Apostles devised as an organ duet, Hakim is joined by his wife, Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet, and so perfect is their musical partnership that it is easy to overlook that there are two players involved. It is to his wife that Hakim dedicated his Arabesques with its references (explicitly in the third of six brief dance movements) to his Lebanese origins.

I would welcome further discs devoted to Hakim’s music, especially on this super organ, but it would be good to experience something a little more restrained and absorbing. This undiluted diet of playful boisterousness makes for exhausting listening. 

Gramophone, Marc Rochester

  1. Toccata – Naji Hakim – 4.11
  2. Petite Suite: I. Diferencias – Naji Hakim – 3.33
  3. Petite Suite: II. Falsas – Naji Hakim – 1.18
  4. Petite Suite: III. Batalla – Naji Hakim – 3.44
  5. Die Apostel: I. Der Heiland – Naji Hakim – 0.43
  6. Die Apostel: II. Der heilige Petrus – Naji Hakim – 1.58
  7. Die Apostel: III. Der heilige Andreas – Naji Hakim – 0.41
  8. Die Apostel: IV. Der heilige Jakobus der ?ltere – Naji Hakim – 1.13
  9. Die Apostel: V. Der heilige Johannes – Naji Hakim – 1.37
  10. Die Apostel: VI. Der heilige Philippus – Naji Hakim – 0.43
  11. Die Apostel: VII. Der heilige Bartolom?us – Naji Hakim – 1.39
  12. Die Apostel: VIII. Der heilige Thomas – Naji Hakim – 0.51
  13. Die Apostel: IX. Der heilige Mattha?us – Naji Hakim – 0.57
  14. Die Apostel: X. Der heilige Jakobus der J?ngere – Naji Hakim – 1.15
  15. Die Apostel: XI. Der heilige Simon und der heilige Judas Thadda?s – Naji Hakim – 2.21
  16. Die Apostel: XII. Der heilige Matthias – Naji Hakim – 1.13
  17. Die Apostel: XIII. Der heilige Paulus – Naji Hakim – 1.12
  18. Ave Maria – Naji Hakim – 3.38
  19. Hommage ? Jean Langlais – Naji Hakim – 7.31
  20. Esquisses Gr?goriennes: I. Nos autem – Naji Hakim – 2.11
  21. Esquisses Gr?goriennes: II. Ave maris stella – Naji Hakim – 2.26
  22. Esquisses Gr?goriennes: III. Pater noster – Naji Hakim – 1.12
  23. Esquisses Gr?goriennes: IV. Ave verum – Naji Hakim – 2.03
  24. Esquisses Gr?goriennes: V. O filii et filiae – Naji Hakim – 3.15
  25. Arabesques: I. Pr?lude – Naji Hakim – 0.46
  26. Arabesques: II. Pastorale – Naji Hakim – 1.12
  27. Arabesques: III. Libanaise – Naji Hakim – 1.08
  28. Arabesques: IV. Arabesque – Naji Hakim – 0.58
  29. Arabesques: V. Litanie – Naji Hakim – 0.42
  30. Arabesques: VI. Rondeau – Naji Hakim – 4.29