See Higgins, Edward.
Hygons [Higons, Huchons, Hugo], Richard
(b c1435; d Wells, c1509). English composer. He seems to have spent his entire working life – some 50 years – at Wells Cathedral. He became a probationary vicar-choral in 1458, and on 18 September 1459 he was collated to a house in the Vicars' Close. He was ordained acolyte on 29 March 1460, and in 1461–2 he was one of five joint organists of the cathedral. On 7 December 1479 he was appointed informator; the deed of appointment, which describes him as ‘skilled in song’, sets out his duties and emoluments in great detail. In return for his annual salary of 93s. 4d. and a rent-free house outside the cathedral close worth 26s. 8d. (in addition to the 20s. or 26s. 8d. which he continued to receive as a vicar-choral), he was to instruct the choristers in plainchant, mensural music and discant, and to teach organ-playing to those who had the inclination and talent for it. He was also required to be present at the singing of the daily Lady Mass and the Marian antiphon, to direct the singing of the Jesus antiphon on Sundays, and to take his place in choir at Mass and Vespers on Sundays and feast days and at Matins on major feasts. If he wished to absent himself or if he was ill he had to provide a competent deputy, and in the case of longer-term incapacity (as was to occur towards the end of his life) he had to pay a substitute out of his own salary. On 2 May 1487 he was granted an additional annual payment of 26s. 8d. in recognition of his diligence and good service; it was probably at about this time that he became sole organist of the cathedral. The appointment of Richard Bramston as deputy informator and organist on 23 July 1507 suggests that by this time Hygons was in failing health. He was still alive on 15 May 1508 when John Clawsy (or Clavellshay) became his deputy.
At Wells Cathedral (GB-W) is part of a single leaf from a choirbook dating from about 1500, which bears on one side the endings of two voices from a setting of Gaude virgo mater Christi, followed by the name ‘Ric Hygons’. The only other composition known to be by Hygons is a complete five-part setting of Salve regina in the Eton Choirbook (GB-WRec 178, ed. in MB, xi, 1958, 2/1973, p.39). Written in all probability for Hygons's own choir, this well-crafted and elaborate work testifies to the high musical standards that prevailed at Wells in the later 15th century.
Hygons's Salve regina is of particular interest because it shares its cantus firmus – the final melisma to the word ‘caput’ of the Sarum antiphon Venit ad Petrum – with the three Caput masses by Ockeghem, Obrecht and an anonymous composer once thought to be Du Fay. The hypothetical existence of a lost English model for these three masses was first postulated in the 1950s; more recently, the attribution to Du Fay of the earliest of the ‘Caput’ Masses has been discarded, and it has been generally accepted that this work is itself the English original, probably dating from the 1440s. Hygons's Salve regina must have been written at least a generation after this – indeed it probably postdates all three ‘Caput’ Masses – and the reason for the choice of cantus firmus is no less obscure. It may, however, be significant that the concept of anointing is central to Maundy Thursday, not only during the Maundy ceremony itself (during which the antiphon Venit ad Petrum is sung) but also in the pontifical Mass on that day (during which the oils of the sick, of baptism and of chrism are consecrated for distribution to the churches of the diocese). A votive antiphon sung on Maundy Thursday could hardly have a more appropriate cantus firmus.
W.P. Baildon, ed.: Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Dean and Chapter of Wells (London, 1914)
F.Ll. Harrison: ‘An English “Caput”’, ML, xxxiii (1952), 203–14
F.Ll. Harrison: ‘The Eton Choirbook: its Background and Contents’, AnnM, i (1953), 151–76
R. Bowers: Choral Establishments within the English Church: their Constitution and Development, 1340–1542 (diss., U. of East Anglia, 1976)
H. Benham: Latin Church Music in England c. 1460–1575 (London, 1977)
D. Fallows: Dufay (London, 1982, 2/1987)
Hykes, David (Bond)
(b Taos, NM, 2 March 1953). American composer and singer. He was trained as a filmmaker at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio (1970–74), and received an MFA in arts administration from Columbia University (1984). From 1975 to 1977 he studied classical Azerbaijani and Armenian music on the tār with Zevulon Avshalomov, and in 1982 became a pupil of Sheila Dhar, studying North Indian raga singing. In 1975 Hykes founded the Harmonic Choir, an ensemble of five to seven singers trained in his techniques of harmonic chant, in which strongly resonated upper partials are produced by the singer in addition to the fundamental tone – techniques he evolved from Tuvan folk music, the Höömii (‘throat’) singing of Mongolia and the ‘subharmonic’ low tones (dbyangs) of Tibetan chant. Unprecedented and of a haunting beauty, Hykes's virtually wordless, partly improvised, devotional music was received with much enthusiasm, mixed with amazement that the human voice could produce so wide and varied a spectrum of sound. From 1979 to 1987 the Harmonic Choir was in residence at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York, and toured extensively. In 1987 Hykes moved to France, establishing at Autainville (Loir-et-Cher) a centre for performance, research and teaching and forming there the Choeur Harmonique. He has been awarded grants by the NEA (1978, 1982, 1985), the Rockefeller Foundation (1980–83) and UNESCO (1983); in 1981 he travelled to Mongolia under the auspices of the Asian Cultural Council. Windhorse Riders, created in 1989 in collaboration with the Iranian percussion virtuoso Djamchid Chemirani, inaugurated a period of solo vocal performance (sometimes using poetic texts) that integrated harmonic chant into an often impassioned, highly ornamented performance style influenced by India and the Near East; Earth to the Unknown Power (1996) marked a return to Hykes's earlier balance of solo voice and chorus. The recordings constitute the primary documentation of his music.
Harmonic Tissues, sine waves, 1971; Looking for Gold/Life in the Sun, children's vv, harmonizer, metal detector, 1975; Test Studies for Harmonic Orch, dulcimer, santur, cimbalom, sāz, tār, bagpipes, zarb, daff, 1975–; Hearing Solar Winds, vv, 1977–83†; Outside of Being There, vv, 1981; One Up, One Down, 2 solo vv, sūrpetī, 1982; Subject to Change, 1v, drones, 1983; Current Circulation, vv, 1983–4†; Harmonic Meetings, 8 pieces, vv, tānpura, 1986†; Windhorse Riders, 9 pieces, 1v, zarb, tablā, tānpura, elecs, 1989†; Let the Lover Be, 5 pieces, 1v, zither, zarb, sūrpetī, elecs, 1991†; True to the Times: How to Be?, 7 pieces, 1v, dobro, oud, windhp, tablā, zarb, org, elecs, 1993†; Earth to the Unknown Power, 4 pieces, vv, accdn, zarb, tānpura, 1996†; Breath of the Heart, 4 pieces, vv, ney, Turkish tanbur, zarb, daff, 1997†; 2 film scores, music for TV
Principal publisher: Harmonic Arts Society
Principal recording companies: Ocora, Celestial Harmonies, New Albion, Auvidis, Catalyst, Fønix Musik
N. Kenyon: ‘Tuning the Skies’, New Yorker (2 Aug 1982)
J. Reinhard: ‘An Interview with David Hykes’, Ear Magazine East, vii/5 (1982–3), 22 only
R. Palmer: ‘Get Ready for the Music of Harmonics’, New York Times (17 July 1983)
J. Schaeffer: New Sounds: a Listener’s Guide to New Music (New York, 1987), 224–9
D. Hykes: ‘Harmonic Chant – Global Sacred Music’, Music: Physician for Times to Come, ed. D. Campbell (Wheaton, IL, 1991), 55–69