To Anthony Hammond Naji Hakim’s Ave Maria
for organ, was commissioned by Dr Anthony Hammond. In this paraphrase of the famous Ave Maria
by Franz Schubert (1826), Naji Hakim imagines the huge crowd of the Church and especially the countless pilgrims of Notre-Dame de Paris, reciting the two parts of the antiphon. First the Annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1: 28) and the words of Elizabeth at the Visitation (Luke 1: 42): 'Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus'. And then the singing of the Theotokos
(Mother of God) expressed by St. Simon Stock on his deathbed (1265): 'Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen'. A lively perpetuum mobile in arpeggios on the fortissimo of the organ accompanies the melody of Schubert in cantus firmus on the pedal. A more agitated episode expressing the supplication, precedes the serene and confident conclusion. The prayer is answered. Premiered by Dr Anthony Hammond, Notre-Dame de Paris, 19 October 20, 2013.
from notes by Naji Hakim © 2013