Gurdjieff International Review

The Music of Gurdjieff / de Hartmann

On Thomas de Hartmann
Thomas C. Daly and Thomas A. G. Daly

This biographical sketch was originally published in Our Life with Mr Gurdjieff: Definitive Edition, London: Penguin Arkana, 1992, 277p.

Thomas de Hartmann: A Composer’s Life
John Mangan

By his early twenties, Thomas de Hartmann was one of the best-known living composers in all of Russia. This informative biography of de Hartmann by John Mangan, the Dean of Jonathan Edwards College at Yale University, is reprinted from Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, by permission of the Music Library Association.

Music: Our Life with Mr Gurdjieff

Written by Thomas and Olga de Hartmann, this account of the musical collaboration between Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann was first published as Chapter 25 of Our Life with Mr Gurdjieff: Definitive Edition.

The Music of Gurdjieff / de Hartmann
G-H Records

Three selections of piano music from G-H Records, chosen with commentary by Tom Daly, are performed by Thomas de Hartmann and reproduced in audio (MP3) format. In addition to carrying the authority of being the composer’s recordings, these evocative performances from the 1950’s are unsurpassed in their own right.

Music Manuscript Sample Page
Thomas de Hartmann

This first page of Holy Affirming, Holy Denying, Holy Reconciling is taken from de Hartmann’s music manuscripts. It is also partially reproduced in the Triangle Editions record album and CD notes. Besides showing de Hartmann’s elegant music calligraphy, it contains his English handwriting, and connects to expressions used in Beelzebub’s Tales.

Gurdjieff / de Hartmann Music for the Piano
Wergo / Schott Recordings

Eugene E. Foster provides an appreciative introduction to the four volume series of compact discs and printed music issued by Wergo / Schott Music in Mainz, Germany. It forms the most comprehensive set of recordings and sheet music available of the Gurdjieff / de Hartmann music. Piano performances are by Linda Daniel-Spitz, Charles Ketcham and Laurence Rosenthal.

On Listening to the Gurdjieff / de Hartmann Music

This anonymous commentary was written for the Gurdjieff International Review by a senior member of the Gurdjieff Society in London. For the author, “it became apparent that for music to say what it had to say depended as much on the listening as what was listened to.”

The Sound of Gurdjieff
Laurence Rosenthal

This essay was originally published in Parabola Magazine, Volume XI (3) 1985, as a review of the four-record album brought out by Triangle Editions in 1985. Reprinted with kind permission of Parabola and the author.

Gurdjieff and Music
Laurence Rosenthal

The original English version of this essay was first published in Gurdjieff: Essays and Reflections on the Man and His Teaching, New York: Continuum, 1996, pages 301–310. Reprinted with kind permission of the author.

Music for the Film Meetings with Remarkable Men
Laurence Rosenthal

This account of the challenges film composer Laurence Rosenthal encountered when selecting and adapting music for Peter Brook’s film of Gurdjieff’s book was originally circulated as an insert in some of the press packets released with the film in 1978. Updated for this publication, Mr. Rosenthal emphasizes the importance of Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann’s music in the film.

Tradition and Transmission in the Music of Gurdjieff
Laurence Rosenthal

“What is coming through the air? What am I receiving? What is this music about? Why does it seem to evoke the poignancy of the life of Man, the forces to which he is subject, the enigma of his destiny?”

Notes on the Gurdjieff Music
Gail Needleman

“Gurdjieff’s music is part of his whole teaching... To approach the possibility of receiving it may require the development of a new way of listening, one that arises out of the harmonious development of body, mind and feeling.”

The Music Has To Like You…
Mitchell Rudzinski

Mitchell Rudzinski’s advice and comments to his students regarding playing music for the movements is provided from their journals and notebooks.

On Giving up the Luxury of Knowing
Stafford Ordahl

Ordahl considers the courage to abandon what is known mechanically in favor of trusting an unknown “something else” to be able to play movements music.

Inner Octaves and Eastern Music
Jeffrey Werbock

A long time student of the Gurdjieff teaching, Jeffrey Werbock is also a performer of the Azerbaijani art music known as mugham. For many years he studied under the musician Zevulon Avshalomov, engaging in the tradition of student and teacher, disciple and master.

Oral Tradition in the Transmission of Ancient Music
Jeffrey Werbock

Jeffrey Werbock, a performer of the Azerbaijani music known as mugham, looks into the method of transmitting ancient music from generation to generation. “Ancient eastern sacred music embodies a legacy of knowledge which can put us in touch with a current of energy that originated during an epoch when the transmission of wisdom was passed on exclusively in the oral tradition, with no coded symbols to intervene and insulate the listeners from the intent of the masters: transcendence.”

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Revision: June 1, 2019