The Embrace of Fire

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

THE EMBRACE OF FIRE, 1er Prix du Concours International de Composition pour Orgue en hommage à Anton Heiller, Collegedale, TN, 15', Bayonne, 1986, Combre, to Prof. Dr. Winfried Bönig, Leonard Raver, Collegedale TN, 23.04.86 


Awarded first prize in the Anton Heiller Memorial Competition for Organ Composition in Collegedale, Tennessee, 1986, The Embrace of Fire is a testimony to the composer's Christian Faith. Hakim writes :

"Man moves within the physical limits of Flesh, Space and Time. Joys, Sorrows, Union and Separation, punctuate his existence which wends inexorably towards death. "The Embrace of Fire" — the title is inspired by the icon of the Trinity of Roublov — draws its substance from the Scriptures.  It may be seen as an Act of Faith in the Great Beyond, in God's infinite Love, in Love stronger than Death".

Each of  the three movements is prefaced  by a quotation from Scripture, the underlying Gregorian theme, and a description of the movement.

I — Mathew 11 :28 — Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am  gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

(Gregorian theme of the Vespers of the Feast of the Sacred Heart).
In succesion : Ostinato, Christ's loving call to His people ; mystical dance.

II — adapted from Luke 12 :49 — This have I desired , even unto death. Let the fire which I have kindled on earth consume them ! And let their blood and their faces become light, like those who go, dancing, to a wedding feast.

(Modal scale, leitmotive of the Sept Chorals-Poèmes d'Orgue pour les sept paroles du Christ, Opus 67, by Charles Tournemire, used melodically and harmonically.) This movement illustrates the "Consuming Fire". Several vehement, even savage rhythmical moods alternate in forte and fortissimo dynamics.

III — adapted from John 6 :57, I Corinthians 12 :13 — They who eat of my flesh and drink of my blood abide in me and I in them. And through me, they will live beyond death, as You, O Father, fill then with Your Spirit the cup of my blood, so that, fulfilled with joy, they may draw the well of my heart.

(Gregorian theme from the Communion of the Feast of the Sacred Heart treated in irregular rhythm.)
Theme of the first movement ; modal scale of the second movement in filigree. The five sections of this movement follow a symmetrical plan : Introduction, dance, prayer of Thanksgiving, dance, coda (Introduction). Amy Johansen

Naji Hakim : The Embrace of Fire, page 12, extrait du manuscrit autographe