Fragments of an Unknown Teaching
1988 • 12 minutes • Piano
Fragments of an Unknown Teaching was inspired by the writings and ideas of Russian mysticphilosophers P.D. Ouspensky and G.I. Gurdjieff, who espoused a philosophy in which self-awareness (or 'self-remembering') was presented as a way of escaping from the 'sleep' which keeps one from realizing one's full potential. The teachings of this school were presented in many varied types of "work", from meditation through an intricate cosmological system to various kinds of dance and 'gymnastics'. The piece is not programmatic in content, although a lengthy quote from one of 'Gurdjieff's harmonium improvisations is included in the middle of the work, barely audible within the ringing octave 'G' tremolo which immerses it.
The work was commissioned by Terrence Kroetsch through the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council.