World premiere

Veni creator

On Whit Sunday took place on the organ of the Benedictine Abbey of Belloc a world premiere :
Three paraphrases on the Veni Creator by Naji HAKIM.
Here world premiere means that this composition was given in public for the first time. In the future, it will be produced worldwide. 

Dr Naji HAKIM composed these three liturgical or concert pieces, in honour of the Holy Spirit. They were commissioned by the Benedictine Monastery of Urt.

The three movements were played at Mass during Whit Sunday
at the Ofertory (1st mvt), the Communion 2nd mvt) and the Ite Missa Est (3rd mvt)
The titles of the respective movements are taken from the verses of the hymn Veni Creator :
1. Ductore sic te praevio (That under your considerate guidance)
2. Fons vivus (The living source),
3. Virtute firmans perpeti (By your eternal power)

Please listen to the second mvt (Fons vivus) given hereafter. Here is the composer’s comment: « The central movement, Fons vivus (The living source), contrasts by its fluid and light character » ; and he quotes Jesus in St John’s Gospel “Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (John 3, 5).

This piece, beautifully built, begins by playing with the first notes of the hymn "Veni Creator"  G A G F G A

Veni creator
which the composer develops and comments, like a garland woven through the score, in a ternary rhythm, which increases its fluid and light character.
He treats this small pattern (in augmentation) in a more incisive form towards the end of the movement :
rather than triplets, he uses a simple staccato quaver on each beat. It makes one think of six small water droplets. This pattern of light and staccato quavers appears also at the beginning of the movement.

But Naji Hakim also constructs in a very fine and subtle way other periods of the hymn :
"mentes tuorum" C G A C D C (in parts A and B) ;
"Imple superna gratia" C D E C B A G C D G A C (Part B) ;
"Quae tu creasti" : B C G A F A (Part A ') and always in a ternary rhythm.
The entire movement is built in a free varied Lied form (A B A ') - which does not mean anarchy, far from it ! - In this work, the composer combines happily, as usual, flexibility and imagination in the melodic pattern, together with great rigor and logic, especially with the bar groupings. This latter aspect would take too long to develop here.

The ear cannot be insensitive to the "color" of the composition caused mainly by sudden changes in tone, yet merging beautifully through a technical process which we will not mention here so as not to be too barbaric !

One may notice also the care in which the composer uses to score each line : right hand, left hand and pedals, when they overlap. Just one example among many :
                                    Extrait du 2ème mouvement click to enlarge
                         Manuscript reproduced with the kind permission of the composer

While the right hand, from 3rd bar on, unravels gracefully as a garland, the theme of "imple superna gratia", we recognize the left hand developing the incisive syncopated pattern which runs from the beginning of the theme throug the score. Meanwhile, in contrast with the left hand, the pedal draws a beautiful expressive counterpoint. The best way to be aware of this is to play with both hands while singing the pedal notes. (A suggestion to organists who want to study this composition).

Yet another simple detail that is worth gold and highlights the “lace-like-writing” of the composer : 
Détail du 2ème mouvementManuscript reproduced with the kind permission of the composer
The 12:8 tempo bridges the transition between the previous bars, commenting freely the first notes of the Veni Creator, then the following ones, of the "imple superna gratia". Please note the small cell circled in red indicating the transition from the right hand to the pedal then on to the left hand, thus making the transition smoothly ...

But there is no need to emphasize: the reader will understand, on one hand, which composer he is facing, and on the other, that the enthusiasm of the author of these lines is based not so much on subjectivity, but on a rigorous objective analysis.

Now let music speak for itself ! Here is the second movement ("a home-made recording" by the sister organist), with the courteous authorization of the master, the composition having not yet been recorded on CD. but ... (see below)


 Manuscrit of the three paraphrases on the Veni Creator

 ... it will not be long ... for more information, please click here ! 
PS: This work, Three paraphrases on the Veni Creator has just been published at Schott’s :
Trois Paraphrases sur le Veni Creator Spiritus
please click here