THE GURDJIEFF WORK
Portions of the Introduction have been drawn from “G.I. Gurdjieff and His School” by Jacob Needleman, originally published in Antoine Faivre and Jacob Needleman (eds.), Modern Esoteric Spirituality, New York: Crossroad, 1992, and from “The Gurdjieff Tradition” by Jacob Needleman, originally published as an entry in: Wouter J. Hanegraaff (ed.) Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, Leiden: Brill NV, 2005.
THE GURDJIEFF WORK
It has been nearly
a hundred years since G.I. Gurdjieff first appeared in
Gurdjieff’s fundamental aim was to help human beings awaken to the meaning of our existence and to the efforts we must make to realize that meaning in the midst of the life we have been given. As with every messenger of the spirit, Gurdjieff’s fundamental intention was ultimately for the sake of others, never only for himself. But when we first encounter the figure of Gurdjieff, this central aspect of his life is often missed. Faced with the depth of his ideas and the inner demands he placed upon himself and upon those who were drawn to him, and becoming aware of the uniquely effective forms of inner work he created, we may initially be struck mainly by the vastness of his knowledge and the strength of his being. But sooner or later what may begin to touch us is the unique quality of selflessness in his actions, the sacrifices he made both for those who came to him, and for all of humanity. We begin to understand that his life was a work of love; and at the same time that word, “love,” begins to take on entirely new dimensions of meaning, inconceivable in the state of what Gurdjieff called waking sleep.
In most major cities of the Western world men and women are now trying to live his teaching. It is not too soon, therefore, to consider what this teaching has brought or can bring to the world. As human life in our era spirals downward toward dissolution in violence and illusion, one central question rises up before us in the shadow of which all teachings, including the Gurdjieff work, must now be measured: How can humanity reverse the process leading to its seemingly inevitable self-destruction?
In the face of this question, the heart is restless, but the mind soon falls silent. It is as though the unprecedented crisis of our modern world confounds and all but refutes thousands of years of religious doctrine and centuries of scientific progress. Who now dreams of turning to religion for the answer when it is religion itself that lies so close to the root of war and barbarism? Who dares turn to science for the answer when it is advancing technology, the very fruit of scientific progress, that has so amplified the destructive powers of human egoism? And who imagines that new theories of society, new social programs, new ideologies can do anything more than wrap the falling earth in dreams of flying?
The mind falls silent.
But in that silence something within can awaken. In that moment an entirely new kind of hope can appear. The Gurdjieff work may in part be understood as the practical, painstaking cultivation of that silence and that hope, that state of embodied awakening to the truth of the human condition in the world and in oneself. The unanswerable question about the fate of humanity and the world is transformed into the question, also unanswerable: What is a human being? Who am I? But it is now a question asked with more of oneself, not only with the mind alone—the mind which, with all its explanations, has so little power to resist the forces of violence and brutality; nor with emotion alone, which with all its fervor often ends by making the most sacred of doctrines into instruments of agitation and death. Nor, so the Gurdjieff teaching also shows us, can the question of who and what we are be answered by giving way again and again to the endlessly recurring obsessions rooted in the physical body. That is to say, the great question of who and what we are cannot be answered by only one part of the whole of ourselves pretending to be the master. This self-deceptive state of the human being is precisely what Gurdjieff meant by mankind’s state of waking sleep. In this sleep, he tells us, we are born, live and die, write books, invent religions, build monuments, commit murders and destroy all that is good.
One thing, and one thing only is therefore necessary. It is necessary for individual men and women to awaken, to remember Who they are, and then to become Who they really are, to live it in the service of Truth. Without this awakening and this becoming, nothing else can help us.
But it is very difficult. An extraordinary quality of help is needed. To this end, Gurdjieff created what has come to be called the Work.
The Gurdjieff Work Today
The Gurdjieff Foundation
his death in 1949, Gurdjieff entrusted the task of transmitting the teaching to
his chief pupil, Jeanne de Salzmann, and a small circle of other pupils in
In what follows we limit ourselves to the teaching as it has been studied and transmitted by groups that may be historically designated as representing the direct Gurdjieff lineage. These groups now exist in each specific location under the name of “The Gurdjieff Foundation,” or, in The United Kingdom, “The Gurdjieff Society.”
A central focus of the Gurdjieff teaching is the awakening to consciousness and the creation of proper communal and psychological conditions that can support this multi-leveled process. For this, a preparatory work is necessary, as stated by Jeanne de Salzmann: “According to Gurdjieff, the truth can be approached only if all the parts which make the human being, the thought, the feeling, and the body, are touched with the same force in a particular way appropriate to each of them—failing which, development will inevitably be one-sided and sooner or later come to a stop. In the absence of an effective understanding of this principle, all work on oneself is certain to deviate from the aim. The essential conditions will be wrongly understood and one will see a mechanical repetition of the forms of effort which never surpass a quite ordinary level.”
Gurdjieff gave the name of “self-remembering” to the central state of conscious attention in which the higher force that is available within the human structure makes contact with the functions of thought, feeling and body. The individual “remembers,” as it were, who and what he really is and is meant to be, over and above his ordinary sense of identity. This conscious attention is not a function of the mind but is the active conscious force which all our functions of thought, feeling and movement can begin to obey as the “inner master.”
Consistent with the knowledge behind many contemplative traditions of the world, the practice of the Gurdjieff work places chief emphasis on preparing our inner world to receive this higher attention, which can open us to an inconceivably finer energy of love and understanding.
The Gurdjieff work remains above all essentially an oral tradition, transmitted under specially created conditions from person to person, continually unfolding, without fixed doctrinal beliefs or external rites, as a way toward freeing humanity from the waking sleep that holds us in a kind of hypnotic illusion. The moving life of the tradition thus supports the individual search and helps to overcome the seemingly universal impulse of resistance or inertia: the tendency toward attachment, and the gradual fixing on partial aspects, institutionalized forms, dogmatic doctrines and a habitual reliance on the known rather than facing and entering the unknown. According to the Gurdjieff teaching, the forms exist only to help discover, incarnate, and elaborate a formless energy of awakening, and without this understanding the forms of the teaching become an end in themselves and lose their meaning.
At present, the general forms of practice in the Gurdjieff tradition may be characterized as follows:
The Early Years
What we know of Gurdjieff’s early life is based mainly on what he has revealed in the autobiographical portions of his own writings, especially Meetings with Remarkable Men. Although there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of his account, the fact remains that the principal aim of Gurdjieff’s writings was not to provide historical information, but to serve as a call to awakening and as a continuing source of guidance for the inner search that is the raison d’être of his teaching. His writings are cast in forms that are directed not only to the intellectual function but also to the emotional and even subconscious sensitivities that, all together, make up the whole of the human psyche. His writings therefore demand and support the search for a finer quality of self-attention on the part of the reader, failing which the thought contained in them is unverifiable at its deeper levels.
Gurdjieff was born,
probably in 1866, to a Greek father and an Armenian mother in Alexandropol (now
Meetings with Remarkable Men
shows us the youthful Gurdjieff journeying to monasteries and schools of
awakening in remote parts of Central Asia and the
As has been noted, Gurdjieff began
his work as a teacher in
Soon after, as the Revolution drew
near and the coming breakdown of civil order began to announce itself,
Gurdjieff and a small band of dedicated pupils, including Thomas and Olga de
Hartmann, made perilous journeys to the Crimea and Tiflis (now
The account by Ouspensky and notes
by other pupils published in 1973 under the title Views from the Real World
show that in the
The Gurdjieff Ideas
It is true enough to say that Gurdjieff’s system of ideas is complex and all-encompassing, but one must immediately add that their formulation is designed to point us toward a central and simple power of apprehension which Gurdjieff taught is merely latent within the human mind and which is the only power by which we can actually understand ourselves in relation to the universe. In this sense, the distinction between doctrine and method does not entirely obtain in Gurdjieff’s teaching. The formulations of the ideas are themselves meant to have a special action on the sense of self and may therefore be regarded as part of the practical method. This characteristic of Gurdjieff’s teaching reflects what Gurdjieff perceived as the center of gravity of the contemporary subjectivity—the fact that modern civilization is lopsidedly oriented around the thinking function. Modern man’s illusory feeling of “I” is to a great extent built up around his thoughts and therefore, in accordance with the level of the pupil, the ideas themselves are meant to affect this false sense of self. For Gurdjieff the deeply penetrating influence of scientific thought in modern life was not something merely to be deplored, but to be understood as the channel through which the eternal Truth must first find its way toward the human heart.
Man, Gurdjieff taught, is an unfinished creation. He is not fully Man, considered as a cosmically unique being whose intelligence and power of action mirror the energies of the source of life itself. On the contrary, man, as he is, is an automaton. Our thoughts, feelings, and deeds are little more than mechanical reactions to external and internal stimuli. In Gurdjieff’s terms, we cannot do anything. In and around us, everything “happens” without the participation of an authentic consciousness. But human beings are ignorant of this state of affairs because of the pervasive and deeply internalized influence of culture and education, which engrave in us the illusion of autonomous conscious selves. In short, man is asleep. There is no authentic I am in his presence, but only a fractured egoism which masquerades as the authentic self, and whose machinations poorly imitate the normal human functions of thought, feeling, and will.
Many factors reinforce this sleep. Each of the reactions that proceed in one’s presence is accompanied by a deceptive sense of I—one of many I’s, each imagining itself to be the whole, and each buffered off from awareness of the others. Each of these many I’s represents a process whereby the subtle energy of consciousness is absorbed and degraded, a process that Gurdjieff termed “identification.” Man identifies—that is, squanders his conscious energy, with every passing thought, impulse, and sensation. This state of affairs takes the form of a continuous self-deception and a continuous procession of egoistic emotions, such as anger, self-pity, sentimentality, and fear, which are of such a pervasively painful nature that we are constantly driven to ameliorate this condition through the endless pursuit of social recognition, sensory pleasure, or the vague and unrealizable goal of “happiness.”
According to Gurdjieff, the human condition cannot be understood apart from considering humanity within the function of organic life on earth. The human being is constructed to transform energies of a specific nature, and neither our potential inner development nor our present actual predicament is understandable apart from this function. Thus, in the teaching of Gurdjieff, psychology is inextricably connected with cosmology and metaphysics and, in a certain sense, biology. The diagram known as “the Ray of Creation” provides one of the conceptual keys to approaching this interconnection between humanity and the universal order, and as such invites repeated study from a variety of angles and stages of understanding.
The reader is referred to chapters 5, 7, and 9 of In Search of the Miraculous for a discussion of this diagram, but the point to be emphasized here is that, at the deepest level, the human mind and heart are enmeshed in a concatenation of causal influences of enormous scale and design. A study of the Ray of Creation makes it clear that the aspects of human nature through which one typically attempts to improve one’s lot are without any force whatever within the network of universal influences that act upon man on earth. In this consists our fundamental illusion, an illusion only intensified by the technological achievements of modern science. We are simply unable to draw upon the conscious energies passing through us which, in the cosmic scheme, are those possessing the actual power of causal efficacy. We do not and cannot participate consciously in the great universal order, but instead are tossed about en masse for purposes limited to the functions of organic life on earth as a whole. Even in this relatively limited sphere—limited, that is, when compared to man’s latent destiny—humanity has become progressively incapable of fulfilling its function, a point that Gurdjieff strongly emphasized in his own writings. This aspect of the Ray of Creation—namely, that the “fate of the earth” is somehow bound up with the possibility of the inner evolution of individual men and women—resonates with the contemporary sense of impending planetary disaster.
How are human beings to change this state of affairs and begin drawing on the universal conscious energies which we are built to absorb but which now pass through us untransformed? How is humanity to assume its proper place in the great chain of being? Gurdjieff’s answer to these questions actually circumscribes the central purpose of his teaching—namely, that human life on earth may now stand at a major transitional point, comparable perhaps to the fall of the great civilizations of the past, and that development of the whole being (rather than one or another of the separate human functions) is the only thing that can permit us to pass through this transition in a manner worthy of human destiny.
But whereas the descent of humanity takes place en masse, ascent or evolution is possible only within the individual. In Search of the Miraculous presents a series of diagrams dealing with the same energies and laws as the Ray of Creation, not only as a cosmic ladder of descent but also in their evolutionary aspect within the individual. In these diagrams, known collectively as the Food Diagram, Ouspensky explains in some detail how Gurdjieff regarded the energy transactions within the individual human organism.
Again, the reader is referred to Ouspensky’s book, the point being that humanity can begin to occupy its proper place within the chain of being only through an inner work which within the individual human being may be subsumed under the general term attention. The many levels of attention possible for man, up to and including an attention that in traditional teachings has been termed Spirit, are here ranged along a dynamic, vertical continuum that reaches from the level of biological sustenance, which humans require for their physical bodies, up to the incomparably finer sustenance that we require for the inner growth of the soul. This finer substance is termed “the food of impressions,” a deceptively matter-of-fact phrase that eventually defines the uniquely human cosmic obligation and potentiality of constantly and in everything working for an objective understanding of the Real.
The Ray of Creation and the Food Diagram, extraordinary though they are, are only a small part of the body of ideas contained in In Search of the Miraculous. They are cited here as examples of how Gurdjieff not only restated the ancient, perennial teachings in a language adapted to the modern mind, but also brought to these ancient principles something of such colossal originality that those who followed him detected in his teaching the signs of what in Western terminology may be designated a new revelation.
However, as was indicated above, the organic interconnection of the ideas in In Search of the Miraculous is communicated not principally through conceptual argument but as a gradual unfolding which Ouspensky experienced to the extent that there arose within him that agency of inner unity which Gurdjieff called “the real I”—the activation of which required of Ouspensky an ego-shattering inner work under the guidance of Gurdjieff and within the general group conditions he created for his pupils. Each of the great ideas in the book leads to the others. The Ray of Creation and the Food Diagram are inseparable from Gurdjieff’s teaching about the fundamental law of three forces and the law of the sevenfold development of energy (the Law of Octaves), and the interrelation of these laws as expressed in the symbol of the enneagram. These ideas are in turn inseparable from Gurdjieff’s teaching about the tripartite division of human nature, the three “centers” of mind, feeling, and body. Likewise, the astonishing account of how Gurdjieff structured the conditions of group work is inseparable from the idea of his work as a manifestation of the Fourth Way, the Way of Consciousness, distinct from the traditionally familiar paths termed “the way of the fakir,” “the way of the monk,” and “the way of the yogi.”
The notion of the
The Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man
After a brief period in
Constantinople, Gurdjieff and his group of pupils made their way through Europe
and finally settled in
All serious accounts of the conditions Gurdjieff created at the Prieuré give the impression of a community life pulsating with the uncompromising search for truth, engaging all sides of human nature—demanding physical work, intensive emotional interactions, and the study of a vast range of ideas about humanity and the universal world. These accounts invariably speak of the encounter with oneself that these conditions made possible and the experience of the self which accompanied this encounter.
The most active period of the
Prieuré lasted less than two years, ending with Gurdjieff’s nearly fatal motor
accident on July 6, 1924. In order to situate this period properly, it is
necessary to look back once again to the year 1909, when Gurdjieff had finished
his twenty-one years of traveling throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and
Europe meeting individuals and visiting communities who possessed knowledge
unsuspected by most people. By 1909 Gurdjieff had learned secrets of the human
psyche and of the universe that he knew to be necessary for the future welfare
of humanity, and he set himself the task of transmitting them to those who
could use them rightly. After trying to cooperate with existing societies, he
decided to create an organization of his own. He started in 1911 in
When he began to recover from his
injuries, Gurdjieff was faced with the sheer impossibility of realizing his
plans for the institute. He was a stranger in
In fact, although the period of
the Prieuré had ended, and although struck by numerous personal blows and
tragedies, Gurdjieff by no means limited himself to writing. Quite the
contrary. His travels to
After his death in
In conclusion, and returning to the idea of the three centers, a succinct statement of this fundamental aspect of what Gurdjieff brought to the modern world as “the Fourth Way” may be cited from the descriptive brochure published at the Prieuré in 1922:
The civilization of our time, with its unlimited means for extending its influence, has wrenched man from the normal conditions in which he should be living. It is true that civilization has opened up for man new paths in the domain of knowledge, science and economic life, and thereby enlarged his world perception. But, instead of raising him to a higher all-round level of development, civilization has developed only certain sides of his nature to the detriment of other faculties, some of which it has destroyed altogether. . .
Modern man’s world perception and his mode of living are not the conscious expression of his being taken as a complete whole. Quite the contrary, they are only the unconscious manifestation of one or another part of him.
From this point of view our psychic life, both as regards our world perception and our expression of it, fail to present a unique and indivisible whole, that is to say a whole acting both as common repository of all our perceptions and as the source of all our expressions.
On the contrary, it is divided into three separate entities, which have nothing to do with one another, but are distinct both as regards their functions and their constituent substances.
These three entirely separate sources of the intellectual, emotional or moving life of man, each taken in the sense of the whole set of functions proper to them, are called by the system under notice the thinking, the emotional and the moving centers.
It is difficult conceptually, and in a few words, to communicate the meaning of this idea of the three centers, which is one of the central aspects of Gurdjieff’s teaching. The modern person simply has no conception of how self-deceptive a life can be that is lived in only one part of oneself. The head, the emotions, and the body each have their own perceptions and actions, and each in itself can live a simulacrum of human life. In the modern era this has gone to an extreme point, and most of the technical and material progress of our culture serves to push the individual further into only one of the centers—one third, as it were, of our real self-nature. The growth of vast areas of scientific knowledge is, according to Gurdjieff, outweighed by the diminution of the conscious space and time within which we live and experience ourselves. With an ever-diminishing “I,” we gather an ever-expanding corpus of information about the universe. But to be human—to be a whole self possessed of moral power, will, and intelligence—requires all the centers, and more. This more is communicated above all in Gurdjieff’s own writings, in which the levels of spiritual development possible for human beings are connected with a breathtaking vision of the levels of possible service that the developing individual is called on to render to mankind and to the universal source of creation itself.
Thus, the proper relationship of the three centers of cognition in the human being is a necessary precondition for the reception and realization of what in the religions of the world has been variously termed the Holy Spirit, Atman, and the Buddha nature. The conditions Gurdjieff created for his pupils cannot be understood apart from this fact. “I wished to create around myself,” Gurdjieff wrote, “conditions in which a man would be continuously reminded of the sense and aim of his existence by an unavoidable friction between his conscience and the automatic manifestations of his nature.” Deeply buried though it is, the awakened conscience is the “something more” which, according to Gurdjieff, is the only force in modern man’s nearly completely degenerate psyche that can actually bring the parts of his nature together and open him to that energy and unnamable awareness of which all the religions have always spoken as the gift that descends from above, but which in the conditions of modern life is almost impossible to receive without an extraordinary quality of help.
For Further Study
The Gurdjieff Foundation
The most comprehensive directory of websites of the Gurdjieff Foundations throughout the world may be accessed on the website of The Gurdjieff International Review:
Books, Music and Film
Note: First publication of all books is cited, followed, in parentheses, by most recent or more readily available editions.
Books by Gurdjieff
G. I. Gurdjieff, All
and Everything: Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson.
read and respected, and perennially in print, the 1950 edition was edited by
A.R. Orage on the basis of a literal English text prepared from Gurdjieff's
original Russian and Armenian by pupils at the Institute for the Harmonious
Development of Man. This version may become the reader's preference. However,
the revised translation, initially published in 1992 and republished with
corrections in 2006, should also be read. This edition reflects to some extent
the greater ease of expression of the French edition of 1956 and also benefited
from direct access to the original Russian text, published in 2000 by Traditional
Studies Press (
Meetings with Remarkable Men.
Gurdjieff’s autobiographical account of his youth and early search for hidden knowledge, an “adventure narrative”, written, however, with an uncommon inner calm and “presence” which of itself points toward the heart of the path that he brought to the modern world.
--------------, Life Is Real Only Then, When “I Am”.
Here Gurdjieff speaks on many levels and with great precision and candor of the discoveries and difficulties in his personal struggle to bring the Work to birth in the modern world.
from the Real World.
A collection of Gurdjieff’s lectures from the years 1917 to 1933. “That any record of these lectures exists at all is due to a few pupils who, with astonishing powers of memory . . .managed to write down what they heard afterwards . . .” during the turbulence of revolutionary Russia, at the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man near Paris, and during visits to American pupils in New York and elsewhere. The book offers a rare opening to the vast scale of the Gurdjieff ideas expressed in the human resonance of his own “voice.”
Accounts by Direct Pupils
P. D. Ouspensky, In
Search of the Miraculous.
This book may be given a special significance in this list of reliable recommended works. Since its first publication in 1949, Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous has served as the most artful, electrifying and profound account written by a pupil. Ouspensky’s book retains a remarkable strength and freshness to this day and continues to help readers at all levels of their preparation and acquaintance with the Gurdjieff teaching. For many it remains the book of choice for those approaching the teaching for the first time.
Thomas and Olga de Hartmann, Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff.
This book describes the dangerous
flight by Gurdjieff and a handful of pupils out of war-torn revolutionary
Henriette Lannes, This
Henriette Lannes was responsible in
later years for the study of the Gurdjieff teaching in Lyon (
John Pentland, Exchanges Within.
John Pentland was immensely
influential in the transmission of the Gurdjieff teaching in
Michel de Salzmann,
“Man’s Ever New and Eternal Challenge” in On the Way of Self Knowledge,”
Michel de Salzmann was both a trained psychiatrist and one of the most respected leaders of the Work throughout the world. These two magisterial essays show the place of psychotherapy in the process of inner development while at the same time offering a far-reaching vision of the several levels of the Gurdjieff Work.
William Segal, A Voice
at the Borders of Silence.
A highly successful businessman, an
important American artist and a devoted practitioner of Zen, William Segal was
for many years a leading figure in the development of the Gurdjieff Work in
Henri Tracol, The
Taste For Things That Are True. Longmead, Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element
Books, Ltd., 1994. (Expanded and revised edition forthcoming from Sandpoint
Henri Tracol was a pupil of Gurdjieff for over ten years and worked as a leader of the Work closely alongside Jeanne de Salzmann in the years following Gurdjieff’s death. The essays, talks and interviews in this book reveal an approach to the Gurdjieff teaching unsurpassed its subtlety, depth and purity.
The following books seem to me to be among the most honest attempts by pupils of Gurdjieff to depict the personal impact of the man and his way of teaching :
Margaret Anderson, The
Kathryn Hulme, Undiscovered
Rina Hands, Diary of
Madame Egout Pour Sweet.
C. S. Nott, Teachings
of Gurdjieff: The Journal of a Pupil.
Tcheslaw Tchekhovitch, Gurdjieff:
A Master in Life.
Rene Zuber, Who Are
You, Monsieur Gurdjieff?
Accounts by Other Pupils of the Gurdjieff Work
The first published account of the teaching of Jeanne de Salzmann, Gurdjieff’s greatest pupil, who was responsible for the Work after his death.
Written by a long-time pupil of Jeanne de Salzmann, this concise exposition clarifies much that has seemed obscure in the Gurdjieff teaching.
Material for Thought,
journal published occasionally in
Gurdjieff Foundation of
Gurdjieff International Review: see: www.gurdjieff.org
Guide and Index to
Jacob Needleman and George Baker (eds.), Gurdjieff: Essays and Reflections on the Man
and His Teaching.
Jacob Needleman (ed.), The
Inner Journey: Views from the Gurdjieff Work.
3-disc set, Triangle Records, a division of Triangle Editions
In these essential recordings one feels immediately the authority of the composer’s interpretation of his own music, although de Hartmann was not always aware that his performances were being recorded. Thus certain pieces contain spontaneous departures from the printed text.
The original recordings were made largely on an early, somewhat primitive, wire recorder. Many years later the transfer to LP, and eventually to CD, included an electronic process designed to clarify the sound and eliminate extraneous noises and background hiss. In the course of this improvement, some of the vitality and immediacy of de Hartmann’s playing may have been lost. Nevertheless. the authenticity of these recordings make this a definitive historical document and an invaluable reference.
Gurdjieff / de Hartmann
Music for the Piano
Linda Daniel-Spitz, Charles Ketcham, Laurence Rosenthal, pianists
Volumes 1-4 Wergo
(Schott Wergo Music Media,
These performances were recorded by the three editors of the published complete works. This edition was produced under the guidance of Jeanne de Salzmann. A major feature of these four sets of CDs is that they comprise a complete recording of the four volumes of the published music, presented in the same order. Thus it is possible for the listener to follow in sequence the printed scores.
Volumes 1-10 (Various titles: Meditations, Music of the Sayyids and Dervishes,
Hymn for Christmas Day, First Dervish Prayer, Circles, etc.)
Alain Kremski’s interpretations are often imaginative and unusual, and always there is great authority in his playing and technique. Although the music for the Gurdjieff movements is generally not designed to be heard separately from the sacred dances themselves, Kremski has elected to include many of de Hartmann’s compositions for the movements in these collections.
Laurence Rosenthal, piano
These recent recordings, part of a series still in progress, were made by a composer and pianist with long association with the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music. Rosenthal arranged and orchestrated many of these pieces for inclusion in the musical score of Peter Brook’s film Meetings with Remarkable Men. The CD of the score for the film is available on Citadel records.
Remarkable Men, directed by Peter Brook, produced by Remar Production,
Inc., 1978; DVD included with The Inner
Journey: Views from the Gurdjieff Work (listed above), distributed by
Morning Light Press,
[*] In 1922
Gurdjieff acquired the Prieuré d’Avon, a large estate and former priory located
about 40 miles from
[†] In this light, it is interesting to note that groups that break away at different moments, to work by themselves and on their own, run the risk of clinging dogmatically to certain specific forms and practices.