G.I. Gurdjieff

Gurdjieff International Review

Editorial Introduction

The Gurdjieff / de Hartmann Music

Music is just the thing which helps you to see higher.

Thomas de Hartmann

Gurdjieff embodied his teaching in three forms: ideas (both written and oral), movements, and music. Music—at least the experience of great music that has the potential to elevate our awareness and emotional sensitivity—does not translate readily into meaningful words. It is a non-verbal experience that is especially difficult to articulate. The special nature of the Gurdjieff / de Hartmann music makes intelligent, meaningful comment and interpretation even more difficult. Our contributors have each risen to this challenge admirably.

The music articles in this issue would not have been possible without the kind collaboration of: Tom Daly, long-time student of Thomas and Olga de Hartmann and executor of their estate; Laurence Rosenthal, composer, pianist and a leading arranger of the Gurdjieff / de Hartmann music; and Charles Ketcham, conductor and performer of the Gurdjieff / de Hartmann music. All gave generously of their time, attention and materials. Also, courtesy of Mr. Daly, we are very pleased to reproduce three selections of piano music performed by Thomas de Hartmann in audio (MP3) format, our first excursion into this new technology.

An accomplished professional composer, Thomas de Hartmann and wife Olga were close students of Gurdjieff from the early St. Petersburg groups of 1917 until 1930. Thomas de Hartmann collaborated on several hundred musical compositions with Gurdjieff in the 1920s (mostly between 1925 and 1927), sensitively notating and arranging the pieces that Gurdjieff whistled or picked out on the piano with one finger. This issue is specially focused on this musical collaboration and its legacy.

Vastly intelligent, deeply sensitive, ferociously unconventional and blazingly articulate, René Daumal (1908–1944) evokes such superlatives as poet, novelist, philosopher, Sanskrit scholar and student of Hinduism. He worked with Gurdjieff, Jeanne de Salzmann, and particularly with Alexandre de Salzmann in Paris during the 1930s. Daumal is the subject of a new penetrating essay by Basarab Nicolescu and of excerpts from Kathleen F. Rosenblatt’s authoritative book, René Daumal: The Life and Work of a Mystic Guide. We are grateful to these authors for their informed coverage of this insufficiently known figure.

This issue is dedicated to Thomas de Hartmann and to the patience of all our collaborators.

Walter Driscoll
Greg Loy

This webpage © 1999 Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing
Featured: Summer 1999 Issue, Vol. II (4)
Revision: July 1, 1999