Paul Carr | Silver Spring, MD United States | 06/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know exactly how many pianists there are in the world - probably several million? Of these, only a tiny number could have pulled this recording off, and none better than Keith Jarrett, one of the finest pianists we have working in any genre or idiom. This isn't jazz at all, but rather piano transcriptions of one man's memories of central Asian Christian music. The transcriptions are not artful, but this doesn't stop them from shining like uncut gems. If you can connect with these minor melodies, then you'll find this recording exceptionally beautiful, as I do."
Keith, laid back, letting the music do the talking
Paul Carr | 10/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Apparently Gurdjieff used to whistle tunes and his friend - Thomas De Hartmann - transcribed these tunes for the piano.These are Jarrett's renditions. And beautiful they are! This is solo piano Jarrett in the Koln Concert style, but with all the Jarrett style stripped. He plays these straight, as they were written. They are simple, meditative tunes. Quite unlike any other Jarrett I have heard, and simply one of the better disks I have bought of his.The was quite a find for me. I've been playing La Scala and The Vienna Concert of late. Bought this one on a whim, and it really is a great companion to them."
The Gurdjieff Legacy Languishes
R. J MOSS | Alice Springs, Australia | 10/06/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not being privvy to the motivations of this ECM session one can only speculate about its swift and meagre outcomes. Jarrett had attained star status at the time and, as a self-declared student of the Gurdjieff Work, must have been prompted to commit his interpretation of De Hartmann's deeply moving music to acetate. Perhaps there was a prod from within the Gurdjieff oraganization, riding on Jarrett's reputation, to place an enticing carrot before a wider public. About the same time, we had Peter Brook's film,'Meetings with Remarkable Men', with a glimpse of the Paris chapter of Gurdjieff adherents performing sacred dances tacked to the ending of the original cut. This seemed to be conceived as publicity. Had the spectre of Gurdjieff's authority inhibited some of his star pupils? Brook's,'Meetings' is at best, an awkward translation of the book when compared to his take on Golding's,'Lord of the Flies'. And it lacks utterly the majesty or enigma of his stage work. The aforementioned sacred dance and the,'Contest of the Ashokhs' at the opening are the only,'Remarkable' stanzas. The best thing in it, contrarily, is Laurence Rosenthal's score. Whatever, Jarrett seems restrained in working someone else's script. When you think of,'Facing You', or the concerts at Bremen or Koln, you feel The Big Current was commanding Keith. I'm unsure if De Hartmann's own playing has been remastered to CD. His inspirational playing is on record and worth tracing. Alain Krenski has been a valuable and prolific recorder of the De Hartmann/Gurdjieff canon. I'd prioritise, however Elan Sicroff's singular,'Journey To Inaccessible Places' if you are truly interested in premium quality interpretation. Sicroff's touch makes each note an event. If you are lucky enough to live in Massachusetts, you may even get to hear him perform!"
I like to read Gurdjieff but...
mountanalogue | 01/10/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not that I'm trying to ruin the great idea of SACRED HYMNS. I just think Gurdjieff is as good in composing music as Freud or Nietzsche... Jarrett's playing is impeccable as always but music is rather boring. My modest opinion-3 stars"
Not for the faint of body, mind, or heart
mountanalogue | Athens, GA | 04/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nice work on some difficult music. People who purport to have a golden ear or "know music" or even worse, "know Jarrett's work", will think this music boring, and well should pass it on for something mundane. Otherwise a mesmerizing work. On the downside, it flows better on an LP."