The piano music of Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann, Recorded 2009
At the heart of Gurdjieff’s teaching lies the assertion that man’s conscience, submerged in his subconsciousness, can be awakened to participate in his daily life, and thus become the instrument for his transformation. There are four sources of this teaching – writings, sacred dance, sacred music, and group work. All are designed to contribute to this aim.

The particular function of the sacred music is to open the feelings in the listener. Gurdjieff makes the distinction between our ordinary subjective emotions, based on the polarities of attraction and repulsion and upon attachment to the world around us; and the higher emotions, which have no opposites. These are available to our experience, but they are subtle and need to be approached with receptivity.

The music itself comes from many sources which Gurdjieff encountered during his search for knowledge in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa at the end of the nineteenth century. As a boy, Gurdjieff had been trained as a chorister, and could express himself on the guitar, the harmonica, and the harmonium. He also had a remarkable aural memory. Together with the Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann, he was responsible for over 300 works between 1918 and 1927, mostly written at the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Fontainebleau, near Paris.

In addition to the sacred music, this CD features the early classical output of Thomas de Hartmann. Born in 1885 in the Ukraine, de Hartmann was already a rising star in the Russian musical world by the turn of the 20th century. His Six Pieces (1902), three of which are recorded here, were published by Jurgensen Edition in his seventeenth year. By 1906, when he was 21, his ballet The Scarlet Flower had been performed in front of the Czar, with Nijinsky, Fokine and Pavlova in the cast. In 1908 de Hartmann traveled to Germany to study conducting with Felix Mottl, a pupil of Wagner. Here he joined the avant-garde, and met his lifelong friend, the painter Wassily Kandinsky. Together they collaborated on the Yellow Sound, a ballet scenario exploring the relationship between sound and color.

CD Tracks

Schott Edition Vol. I – Asian Songs and Rhythms (ED 7841)

1. Tibetan Melody: 1.VII.`1924 (No. 8)
2. Long Ago in Mikhailov: 7.I.1926 (No. 30)
3. Arabian Dance: 22.XI.1925 (No. 45)
4. Kurd Shepherd Melody: 25.IX.1926 (No.17)
5. Armenian Melody: 19.III.1927 (No.15)
6. Hindu Melody: 22.II.1926 (No. 34)
7. Greek Song: 20.XII.1925 (No. 3)
8. Untitled (moderato), 23.VI.1924 (No. 39)

Volume II - Music of the Sayyids and the Dervishes(ED 7842)

1. Dervish Dance: 2.VI.1926 (No. 5)
2. Kurdish Song: 25.IV.1926 (No. 40)
3. Sayyid Dance: 6.V.1926 (No.26)
4. Sayyid Chant and Dance: 30.III.1926 (No.9)
5. Moorish Dance (Dervish): 29.V.1926 (No.28)

Volume III – Hymns, Prayers and Rituals (ED 7843)

1. Laudamus…: 20.II.1927 (No.4)
2. Untitled: 6.I.1927 (No.8)
3. As if the Stormy Years had Passed: 10.XII.1925 (No.14)
4. The Resurrection of Christ: 24.IV.1927 (No.50)
5. Easter Hymn and Procession in the Holy Night: 23.IV.1927 (No.51)

Volume IV – Hymns From a Great Temple and Other Selected Works

1. The Very Sweet Time: 7.XI.1925 (No. 15)
2. [Fragment No. 5 & 6, The Struggle of the Magicians]
3. Tibetan Dance: 1920-1924 (No.16)
4. (Fragment No. 6, The Struggle of the Magicians, Act III]
5. The Essentuki Prayer: 1918 (No. 21)

Thomas de Hartmann, personal music – From Six Pieces, Op. 7 (1902)

1. Prelude
2. Nocturne
3. Impromptu