Dr. Hakim: I was appointed organist at the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur in 1985 by the First Chapelain Father François de Vorges. A few months after my appointment, after an evening mass, the old Rector Monseigneur Maxime Charles asked to meet me in presence of the Maître de Chapelle. He said : “Monsieur Hakim, je tenais à faire votre connaissance avant de partir de cette basilique où j’ai été recteur pendant plus de 50 ans. Vous êtes exactement l’organiste qu’il faut pour cette basilique. Ne changez rien à ce que vous faites, ni plus ni moins! J’espère que vous resterez plus longtemps que moi ici. Et dorénavant il faudra vous appeler “Maître”. Au revoir Maestro!” “Mister Hakim, I wanted to meet you before leaving this basilica where I have been rector for more than 50 years. You are exactly the organist we need for this basilica. Don’t change anything in what you do, no more, no less! I hope you will stay here more than myself. And from now on we must call you “Maître”. Good bye Maestro!”
It was the first and last time I met him in person. I played for several of his services before he retired. When he passed away (I had already left the Basilique to be organist at La Trinité), Rector Alain Hazemann called me and insisted that I play for his funeral, which I did.
Many people think I left Sacré-Coeur to succeed Messiaen at La Trinité. The true reason is that Rector Hazemann didn’t want to amend my contract – my family needed my presence more. I buried my heart at the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur and regret its organ and liturgy as a part of my body and soul. Both organ and music at the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur are a very important source of inspiration to my music as for example the first movement of my Seattle Concerto for organ and orchestra, the second movement of my Sonata for trumpet and organ, or my Hommage à Igor Stravinsky for organ.
You may be interested to read an excellent article on my organ music/Lebanese influences in German by Dr Crista Miller ORGAN magazine December 2015 Schott Music, or Biography of Naji Hakim by Zeina Saleh Kayali, in French : http://www.geuthner.com/livre/figures-musicales-du-liban-naji-hakim/1107
“The melody, always the melody, that is the only and unique secret of our art.”
“Why do you want me to love the music I don’t love if I already love the music I do love?”
“Music is the Word of the unspeakable!”
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, and David Jordan, media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multi-media concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, Bach and Sons, and From Sea to Shining Sea. Contact Dr. Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.