Wiek Hijmans electric psalms on #neuguitars #blog #WiekHijmans
WordPress | En nog een WordPress site (psalmselectrified.com)
The Encyclopaedia Britannica thus defines the term “psalm”: “Psalms, book of the Old Testament composed of sacred songs, or of sacred poems meant to be sung. In the Hebrew Bible, Psalms begins the third and last section of the biblical canon, known as the Writings (Hebrew Ketuvim). In the original Hebrew text the book as a whole was not named, although the titles of many individual psalms contained the word mizmor, meaning a poem sung to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument. The Greek translation of this term, psalmos, is the basis for the collective title Psalmoi found in most manuscripts, from which the English name Psalms is derived. A variant translation found in a 5th-century manuscript of the Septuagint is Psaltērion, whence the English name Psalter, which is often used as an alternative name for the Book of Psalms or for a separate collection of psalms intended for liturgical use. Rabbinic literature uses the title Tehillim (“Songs of Praise”), a curious hybrid of a feminine noun and a masculine plural ending.”
Dutch guitarist Wiek Hijmans is one of the recognized champions of contemporary electric guitar music. Always looking for new ways of expression for his instrument, he has been able to move across the boundaries, between popular music and improvised music, reaching up to classical music and contemporary music. In 2018, Hijmans began composing music inspired by the lyrics of the Book of Psalms, writing 150 pieces. Twelve of these “electric guitar psalms” have finally been published in a beautiful book with CD entitled “Psalm Electrified”. All of these pieces are for solo electric guitar, with the exception of two, which were performed respectively with cellist Tjakina Oosting and violinist Jan Erik van Regteren Altena. For the special occasion of this project, Sytze de Vries has “retranslated”, unfortunately only in Dutch, the texts of the twelve psalms translated by Hijmans into music. However an English translation can be read at this link:
English Translation | WordPress (psalmselectrified.com)
In these Psalms the timbre of the electric guitar sounds clear, crystalline, devoid of any trace of distortion. One can sense a desire for research towards a purity of sound, aimed at a more intimate and spiritual dimension; a poetic form whose starting point is no longer to be found in the connection to a tradition, but in an attitude of research towards the open problems that society poses to us. Like much of avant-garde music, Wiek Hijmans’ Psalms move in search of a way out of the limitation and univocity of every representation and every judgement. They are metaphors: a way in which whoever says one thing means that thing and not just that; a way in which you want to say yes to that thing, but at the same time remember that the world is much more complicated, vast and contradictory. Hijmans’ sacred music is rather a method, a type of relationship with the world, which can inform various and daily manifestations of our society, including the sense of the sacred. I don’t think I can, however, define it as liturgical music. I certainly feel it distant from that basic misunderstanding which always places the sacred in the sacristy rather than in the hearts of men, and which relegates sacred music to formal genres and not to poetic inspirations also present in the contemporary world. Wiek Hijmans has managed to reinvigorate a tradition that seemed to have gone down a closed path, opening up new perspectives and creating seemingly simple and straightforward music. The complex expression of a mosaic made from many musical fragments. An excellent cd.
I suggest you also watch this nice interview about “Psalms Electrified” with Wiek Hijmans himself.