NAJI HAKIM (b.1955): Piano Concerto (version with string quintet - Claire Foison [piano], Quatuor de la Chapelle Royal, Renaud Bary [double bass]), Diptyque for Flute and Piano, Caprice en Rondeau for Flute and Piano (Magali Mosnier [flute]), Phèdre for Soprano and Piano (Rima Tawil [soprano]).
Catalogue Number: 07T068
Description: Lebanese-French composer-organist Hakim has consistently produced works in a most appealing, thoroughly accessible style. He draws on the modes of the folk music of Lebanon to a limited extent, incorporating this into a crisp neoclassical, tonal vocabulary. The concerto is a very attractive work in three movements. The music has the kind of breezy bonhomie that Poulenc specialized in, with a similar profusion of melodic charm and rhythmic alacrity. The first movement sparkles in a modified sonata form with three themes - energetic, 'middle-eastern'-accented and quasi-waltz. The second is sensuous and jazz-inflected with an appassionato Romantic second theme, and the finale a rondo that keeps circling around the idea of a tarantella. The little pieces with flute are delicious divertissements, full of melody (including borrowings from Rameau and Pergolesi). Phèdre displays the composer's more serious, dramatic side. Setting two scenes from Jean Racine's tragedy (and making one hope that Hakim one day sets the whole thing), as an intense monodrama, its powerful, virtuosic piano part making it almost an equal duo for voice and piano, while the vocal part maintains an unremitting emotional charge, especially in the scene of Phaedra's confession and death. Naji Hakim (piano).