Naji Hakim, or Dissonance Scares Me.

This afternoon, after it snowed in my anytown U.S.A and I decided to stay in, or rather exchange a usual stroll outside for the warmth of a concert hall, I had a chance to hear organist Jörg Abbing perform a piece by Naji Hakim of whom I knew next to nothing. The program included a piece by Olivier Messian and following it a piece by Hakim called Le Tombeau d’Olivier Messiaen. I suppose it is an interesting move, especially since Hakim followed Messiaen as an organist at Eglise de la Trinité, as I learned after the concert when I googled Hakim. Even though I find all things modern pretty engaging and either thoroughly enjoyable or, at the very least, tolerable. Hakim’s Le Tombeau, however, opens with a series of such loud and dissonant chords that I was literally scared (if a strange physical sensation is any indication and thus a justification of the use of ‘literally’) – I believe that it would be an ultimate frightening exprience if a haunted house installed an organ and just repeatedly played some dissonant music with creepy improvisations and tinkerings that would explode into more dissonance. There would be absolutely no need for skeletons, masks, spooky lights and even pumpkins – a sort of Halloween in its pure and natural state… well, maybe with some candy.

Strangely enough, Hakim’s website contains this quotation – “Min sjæl ophøjer Herren”! – which, it claims, comes from Luke 1:46 but I have no idea which language it is in. According to a small bio Naji Hakim comes from Beirut and is now residing in London – it looks very Scandinavian or Northern European at the least. Puzzling… My other musical adventure this weekend was my courageous attempt not to fall asleep while at the performance of Elgar’s First Symphony – my Lord, how utterly boring and forgettable it was! I am usually the first one to throw a condescending and judgmental look at anyone who dares to nap during the performance: “vy, vy must yu sleep at ze performans!” – I yell, but yesterday I was very much on the verge of dozing off. And to think that early critics of Elgar’s symphony accused it of having “too many themes” – yes, too many very boring and whiny themes that kept coming back to haunt my struggle with Morpheus. Anyway, I believe these casual observations create an adequate illusion of my sophistication and awesomeness – mission accomplished!

UPDATE I: Some 40 videos about Arnold Schönberg are posted on YouTube by Schönberg Archive here. A nice way to kill the rest of this long Sunday.

5 thoughts on “Naji Hakim, or Dissonance Scares Me.

  1. “Anyway, I believe these casual observations create an adequate illusion of my sophistication and awesomeness – mission accomplished!”

    Vell, vell, you are zoo zophisticated! awesome? vy not!

    My general feeling towards dissonance:
    For the record, I am for it and will be running on a pro-dissonance platform.

  2. I once saw an art installation in which there was a lone speaker in the corner of a good size room with hardwood floors, a few windows, and periodically loud loud noises, (guitar feedback, drums etc) would come out the speaker for various amounts of time, when you passed through the door to another room, you could watch the other people react to the loud dissonance. Pretty cool, like a haunted house.

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