Fantaisie sur Adeste fideles

Title, Duration, Place, Year, Publisher, Dedicated to, Premiere (performer(s), place, date)

FANTAISIE SUR "ADESTE FIDELES", (for two organs ad libitum), 8', Paris, 1986, Bornemann/Leduc, à M.B. Dufourcet, Naji Hakim and M.B. Dufourcet Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Paris, 01.87


This work was written in December, 1986, for a recital given by Hakim and his wife, Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet, at the Sacré-Cœur. It is conceived as a duo, using the Grand Organ and Choir Organ in the Basilica. This antiphonal use of the organs is interpreted by the former Rector of the Sacré-Cœur, Father François de Vorges, as a ''dialogue between God and his faithful people, recalling the dialogue of the angels and shepherds''.

The theme and variations form of the Fantaisie lends itself very successfully to this well-known Christmas hymn. Following the exuberant opening chords of the introduction, the hymn, slightly syncopated, is presented in a chordal harmonization with open fifths, using the mixtures, in alternation with triadic passages on the reeds. The introduction is then re-stated, and this marks the beginning of the four contrasted variations. The first of these assigns the melody, in inversion, to the pedal with a rhythmic accompaniment. Arpeggiated arabesques outlining the melody, played on Flutes of 8, 4 and 2 foot pitch, highlight the next section, which leads into the lush third variation. The strings and soft foundation stops of the two organs again dialogue, the melody clearly soaring above accompanying cascading clusters. After a crescendo which bridges the gap between the variations, a brief quotation from The Embrace of Fire prepares the final toccata. The Choir Organ takes the first turn, with the melody alternating between manual and pedal, and the Grand Organ continues with the reprise. A final appearance of the introductory theme leads to the coda, march-like in character, in which the dialogue continues up to the last chord, where the organs sound together, triumphant.