THE GURDJIEFF/DE HARTMANN MUSIC
The music composed by G.I. Gurdjieff and T. de Hartmann reflects both the richness of Gurdjieff’s background and the depth of his knowledge. During twenty years of travel throughout the Middle East and Central Asia in search of spiritual truth, Gurdjieff studied the sacred dances of different traditions, and memorized melodies and rhythmic patterns that carried deep meaning and emotional resonance. He understood that there lies a knowledge in music that emanates from the depth of ancient cultures-- a quality that touches and transforms the feeling, bringing the listener into a “harmonious” state within himself, and allowing profound connections with the wordless question of our lives.
When De Hartmann became a student of Gurdjieff's teaching in Russia in 1917, he was already a celebrated composer/musician. Gurdjieff left Russia due to revolution and war, and many of his students, including de Hartmann, followed him to France. There, they engaged in a musical collaboration that produced a remarkable body of music to support an inner search for Being. This collaboration resulted in more than 160 compositions, including music to accompany the Movements or sacred dances that form an integral part of Gurdjieff’s teaching.
De Hartmann said of his work with Gurdjieff:
“Mr Gurdjieff’s music had great variety. The most deeply moving was that which he remembered hearing in remote temples during his Asian travels. Listening to this music one was touched to the depth of his being...”
A contemporary pianist and composer echoed this call to our inner state:
“It is the consistency and objectivity of Gurdjieff’s essential tone that is so compelling. Whether in a delicate dance, a soulful song, or an uncompromisingly stark hymn, one hears always his call to return to and confront one’s inmost being."
Much more information on the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music available online. Please visit the numerous articles in the 'Gurdjieff International Review' , at under the 'music' tab. These include:
1)'Gurdjieff / de Hartmann Music for the Piano, Wergo / Schott Recordings' by Eugene E. Foster which presents a broad account of the music including volume 1 and 2 (Asian Songs and Dances, and Sayyids and Dervishes, respectively) from which the selection of music to be played by Cecilia Ignatieff in Halifax is chosen (see events).
2)'The Sound of Gurdjieff' by L. Rosenthal provides an appraisal of the music by a pianist and composer who has recorded some of this music.
and 3) 'The Music of Gurdjieff/de Hartmann G-H records' offers several samples of the music and commentary.
A written account of the de Hartmann's collaboration with Gurdjieff:
de Hartmann, Thomas and Olga de Hartmann
Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff (1992) Edited by T. C. Daly and T. A. Daly, London: Penguin.