Gurdjieff/de Hartmann

Some minds will probe, and seek the truth by means of the heart, striving to resolve the problems that invigorate us, minds that penetrate the essence of things and phenomena, thus acceding to their very own core. If a person thinks deeply, no matter what path he may pursue to find a solution to these problems, he will inevitably return to the self and begin to consider the question of his own existence.

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1870–1949), an Armenian philosopher, a mystic, a gnostic and author of the famous movements, founder of the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, was a source of inspiration for playwrights, musicians, choreographers and philosophers. For some a guru and  a genius, for others a charlatan and a boaster.

The music of the composer duo Gurdjieff/de Hartmann came to be in the 1920s in Fontainbleau, France. Their music demonstrated a general tendency to the traditions of Asia, the Near East and the Caucasus, both profane and sacred. For over 60 years, it was an integral part of the tution devised by Gurdjieff, though only in relativly recent times has it been intoduced to a wider public, in particular through various recordings.

The music of Gurdjieff/de Hartmann became the source of inspiration for the duo Magdalena Wojciechowska and Michał Żak, who together present their adaptation of these compositions for piano and wind instruments. The music takes as its basis notes documented in four volumes: I Chants et rythmes d'Asie, II Musique des Sayyids et des Derviches, III Hymnes, prières et rituels, IV Hymnes d'un grand temple et autres oeuvres choisies.

The process of composing tends strongly towards a reconstruction of the melodies committed to memory by Gurdjieff during twenty years of life and travel in Central Asia and the Near East. De Hartmann's role in the process lay in his reading of the rhythm, accentuation and harmonization of the melodies and in the transcription of the notes. The uniqueness of this music lies in the combination of its various component parts – ethnic melodies, ritual music from sacred contexts, liturgical orthodox rhythms and the compositional genius of de Hartmann.  The use of drones, tonal scheme, and eastern melodies are married with western form and structure, closer to other composers of de Hartmann's contemporaries, Maurice Ravel or Igor Stravinsky, for instance. The latter, as did de Hartmann, received his education under the tutelage of Rimsky-Korsakov. This music, much as the teachings of Gurdjieff, is a search of truth, a questioning of one's own place in the surrounding world.