ST GILES' CATHEDRAL Five Stars
ON Saturday, Naji Hakim gave the first of two organ recitals celebrating Messiaen's centenary year. The setting was perfect – thanks to the magnificent Reiger organ which oozes warmth and colour in direct proportion to the austere Presbyterian frugality of a poorly-lit St Giles Cathedral.
But close your eyes and this could so easily have been the succulent Vatican-charged cream-puffery of Paris's La Trinit, where Hakim succeeded Messiaen as organist.
The dynastic influence is palpable. Hakim opened with the Messe de la Pentecte, a liturgical sequence that began life as improvisations and which, in this performance, conveyed the spontaneity of their origins. And what colours Hakim conjured up – the subterranean pedal rumblings physically shaking the pews, the sweet-scented mutation stops floating through the air like penitential wails.
An out-of-tune trumpet stop transformed a characteristic Messiaen motif into a conti-nental car horn, but that was just one mishap in an otherwise absorbing performance.
Naji Hakim's second recital is tonight at 10:30pm