Dutch composer and pianist Joep Beving has released his new solo piano album Hermetism inspired by ancient philosophy. He composed the music, which blends melancholy with hope, during the height of the pandemic. Joep Beving said, “I hope that it will have a comforting and communal effect on listeners.”
“I came back to the piano to feel at home”
Joep Beving previously used music to explore some of life’s big philosophical question on his trilogy of albums Solipsism, Prehension and Henosis and returned to his solo piano roots for his new album Hermetism. “I came back to the piano to feel at home and in tune with myself and my surroundings,” noted Joep Beving. “I wanted to go by what felt right, which was to go back to the beginning, to solo piano songs, but using everything I had learned during the making of the trilogy.”
Joep Beving’s new album was inspired by Hermetism, a spiritual philosophy which stems from ancient writings attributed to the legendary Greek author Hermes Trismegistus. As its core are seven universal laws of nature and these concepts, such as the principle of cause and effect and the principle of rhythm, are all about finding a continuous balance in life and existence. “The teachings around these principles feel so truthful to me and I hope they will inspire others,” said Beving.
Most of the music on Hermetism was influenced by these ideas. ‘Last Dance’, for example, picks up on the principle of rhythm: what goes up must come down. “The music has a spiralling, circling nature. It’s as if something is falling and then it gets picked up again, and it could go on like that forever. That image really fits within the concept of Hermetism,” reflected Joep Beving. “I got drawn back to this music almost like a mantra.”
Joep Beving was also inspired by the city of Paris while he was writing Hermetism. “I had a romantic idea of a past time where someone in Paris would be dedicating their life to the quest for beauty,” he said. “You walk the streets, and there’s an open window with someone playing the piano inside. I had that in mind but overshadowed by dark skies. Some terrible things have happened in Paris in the past few years. I took Paris as a metaphor for Western civilisation.”
“Hermetism has been my own medicine for the pandemic”
Joep Beving explained, “In all the madness of recent times, this album has been the thing I’ve kept coming back to. In that sense Hermetism has been my own medicine for the pandemic.”
Buy or stream Joep Beving’s album Hermetism here.