Hakim, Duruflé, Fauré, Langlais

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COMPOSERS: Durufle,Faure,Hakim,Langlais
LABELS: Herald
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Messe Solennelle
WORKS: Hakim: Messe solennelle; Duruflé: Messe Cum jubilo; Fauré: Messe basse; Langlais: Trois paraphrases grégoriennes
PERFORMER: Manchester Cathedral Choir/Christopher Stokes (organ); Jeffrey Makinson (organ)


The 16 trebles and nine lay clerks of Manchester Cathedral Choir are trained to a fine level of ensemble, and for Naji Hakim their musicianship clearly proved inspirational when composing his Messe solennelle, commissioned by Manchester’s Dean and Chapter for the year 2000. The most recent of three Masses by Olivier Messiaen’s successor at the church of La Trinité, it is a late flowering of the venerable French organ school. Appropriately, the Manchester singers include in their collection other works both characteristic of that tradition and well suited to their robust, rather European timbre. For all its exuberance, Hakim’s Mass belongs to the genre established by Widor, Vierne and Langlais. Like Duruflé’s Messe Cum jubilo (but unlike that numinous score in every other way), it omits the Credo. Compensation comes by way of a riotous Gloria, where the priceless rolling rhythm of the ‘Rex caelestis’ is matched elsewhere by the unceasing patter of the organ accompaniment, extending into the Sanctus and Benedictus, and to a highly effective spoken ‘Dona nobis pacem’. The trebles, pupils of the nearby Chetham’s School of Music, give a warmly spacious account of Fauré’s Messe basse, and Christopher Stokes adds thunder to Langlais’s well-known ‘Hymne d’action de grâce’. Nicholas Williams