Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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If you've not explored any of Naji Hakim's earlier albums of his organ compositions, this is as good a place to start as any: highly approachable works, not without fun, and performed on a fantastic organ.
Gregoriana is based on three Gregorian melodies as a tribute to Dr. Marier’s life-long devotion to the teaching and performance of Gregorian Chant. Repleatur os meum, a chant traditionally sung at the investiture of choristers, opens the piece with a meditation in ascending arpeggios on the flutes. A contrasting variation on the cornet lends a contemplative aspect to the middle of this first section, before some of the initial material appears once again in transposition. Then intensely rhythmical variations based on the Alleluia from the Pentecost Mass follow, progressing from bass to treble – from the dance of the mortals to the Eternal Joy of the Glorified Bodies. An episode based on Cor, arca legem, a hymn from the Feast of the Sacred Heart, appears at the center of this fresco, as a glance at the Beloved. The world premiere was given by Leo Abbott, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, MA, USA, 22.02.04. (Editions Alphonse Leduc, Paris)
This Prière is inspired by the Åkerman and Lund 1995 organ of Kallio Church in Helsinki. It develops a dark, intense and collected choral texture with expressive and dense harmonies, paraphrasing the prayer of the bruised hearts in a strange period of history of mankind. The world premiere was given by Sirkka-Liisa Jussila, Kallio Church Helsinki, 02.06.20. (United Music Publishing, U.K.)
Villancico aragonés (2018)
My visit to Zaragoza on the occasion of Holy Week in 2014, along with my father-in-law, Jean Dufourcet, my wife, Marie-Bernadette and my son Jean-Paul, marked a turning point of the greatest importance in my life as catholic and musician. I had the feeling of having been shaken up in a vertiginous whirlwind, as if it were a second Baptism: processions accompanied by hundreds of drums, pasos of great beauty representing different episodes of the Passion, a fervor that transports you back to the Holy Thursday, an overwhelming parade accompanying the Mater Dolorosa, and on Holy Saturday, “to join her Son in the tomb” to the sound of the most poignant knell, as well as so many other details that it is impossible to express in words – up to the Sunday of the Resurrection where the procession recalling the verse of the Apocalypse “a huge crowd that no one can count” accompanies the Queen of Heaven rejoice at the meeting of Christ in the square of the Basilica “del Pilar” …
It is then that for the first time my tears discovered the musicians and dancers of Aragonese Jota, as they take over the drumming heralds of the “resurrectionem mortuorum” to offer us a spectacle of a joy to make the stones cry; I had never seen such a marvel. It was for me a sort of vision of Blissful Eternity. I do realize what could have moved so deeply Mikhail Glinka! I thank God and my wife, María-Bernadette Dufourcet Bocinos, for making me know and love Spain – all Spain and the irresistible soul of the Spanish people.
I composed this “Villancico Aragonés” from popular melodies, in testimony of deep gratitude to the Aragonese organist Esther Ciudad Caudevilla who kindly invited my wife and I to give a concert in Zaragoza for Advent 2018. The world premiere was given by Naji Hakim, iglesia Santa Engracia, Zaragoza, 17.12.18. (Schott Music, Mainz, Germany.)
Korean Prelude (2014)
When I visited EWHA Womans University in Seoul, Prof. Heesung Kim invited me to improvise on composer Kiyoung Ahn’s (1900-1980) university hymn. My Korean Prelude is a harmonic paraphrase of the melody. (Co-published by Schott Music, Mainz, Germany and Editions Delatour, France)
The piece is based on the “Carnaval de Lanz”, a dance from Navarra, popular in all the Basque Country. A slow introduction in ternary meter precedes a lively allegro in binary meter articulated in a sequence form (AABBCCDD) before being developed in a series of five variations. The world premiere was given by Naji Hakim, KKL Lucerne, Switzerland, 14.06.14. (Other version for wind quintet. Schott Music, Mainz, Germany.)
Trois Paraphrases sur Ave maris stella (2003)
The melody and the text of the Gregorian hymn Ave maris stella give the essence of these Three Paraphrases that pay a homage to the Blissful Virgin Mary. The angelic greeting evoked in the verse Sumens Ave illud is expressed by an ornamental variation of the melody, registered on the cornet, with oriental modality and rhythms. Monstra te esse matrem is a paraphrase of sumat per te preces; fast ascending arpeggios articulate the joyous and voluble developments raising more and more to the treble before the energetic conclusion. Vitam praesta puram is a joyous toccata whose central part comments on the second period of the hymn. The world premiere was given by Sean Farrell, Trinity College of Music, London, 19.01.04. (United Music Publishing, U.K.)
This Cantilena is based on a stage music by Francisco A. Barbieri (1823-1894), from Don Quijote de la Mancha, Drama in three acts by Ventura de la Vega (1807-1865), inspired by the work of Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). The world premiere was given by Naji Hakim, Iglesia San Antón, Bilbao, Spain, 02.06.17. (Schott Music, Mainz, Germany.)
This fantasy is inspired by the legend of Sindbad the Sailor. It uses free thematic material and three Omani popular songs: Al-Wailiah, Al-Madima and Al-Naham. These were suggested to me by Prof. Dr. Issam El-Mallah, during my visit to the Royal Opera House of Muscat. The work is through composed and develops the thematic material in a rhapsodic frame with contrasting characters and registrations. The world premiere was given by Graham Barber, Bartholomew’s Church, Armley, U.K. 26.05.14. (Other version for orchestra. Schott Music, Mainz, Germany.)
O sacrum convivium (2018)
O sacrum convivium for organ by Naji Hakim is a paraphrase of the antiphon to the Magnificat of the vespers of the feast of Corpus Christi. The gregorian melody is ornamented and developed in a song form. The middle section recalls the spirit of the liturgy and the warmth of the organ at Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre in Paris. The joyful character prolongs the accents of Saint Thomas Aquinas’ text: “O sacrum convivium! in quo Christus sumitur: recolitur memoria passionis eius: mens impletur gratia: et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur. Alleluia.” (O sacred banquet at which Christ is consumed, the memory of his Passion is recalled, our souls are filled with grace, and the pledge of future glory is given to us.). The world premiere was given by Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet, Denver, Colorado, 10.07.19. (Schott Music, Mainz, Germany.)
Tanets (rus. танец = dance) is inspired by the rhythm of the Basque fandango (the composer’s wife comes from the Basque Country), with abundant hemiolas alternating 2 and 3 in the accompaniment. The piece, in ternary form, develops a joyful diatonic theme in perpetuum mobile of semiquavers, in a very modulating tonal game. The world premiere was given by Marie-Agnès Grall-Menet, Oratoire du Louvre, Paris, 04.05.19. (Schott Music, Mainz, Germany.)
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