This year the organ of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral will be ten years old, or more correctly it is ten years since the Irish organ builder Trevor Crowe gave the existing organ a full rebuild and added significantly to its makeup. To mark that birthday there will be a celebrity recital on 23rd September at 7.30pm when the famous organist and composer Naji Hakim will be flying over to Cork from the south of France. Tickets are available on the Cathedral Webstore and on Eventbrite.
The renowned composer and organist Naji Hakim was born in Beirut but he studied the organ in France with Jean Langlais. He was the organist of the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Paris from 1985 until 1993, before becoming organist of l’église de la Trinité (1993-2008), in succession to Olivier Messiaen.
In 2010 it was decided in some way to return to the vision of the cathedral architect, William Burges, of having both an organ in the west gallery and a choir organ close to the choir stalls, while retaining much of the instrument in the organ pit in the north transept. The whole instrument was removed from the organ pit in 2011 and a new frame was constructed to contain a new and more practical layout, one which would also allow the restored pipes to ‘speak’ more clearly into the cathedral. A key principle in this regard was, as far as was possible, to return the pipes to their original voicing. Work continued in the organ pit, following the full renovation of the pit and north transept in early 2013 with the full rebuild being completed by October that year.
With over 4,500 pipes (including the 3,012 originals) the cathedral organ is one of the largest in Ireland. The celebrity recital will include works by Bach, Franck, Langlais and by Hakim himself, and it will end with an improvisation, for which the great French organists are so famous. Refreshments will be available during the interval, including a birthday cake!