Tuesday, February 1, 2011

meditation on saving Egypt's antiquities



My album of Paul Horn's Inside the Great Pyramid is so worn that the blue cover is faded by shades. The records are in good shape, however. I am glad of this because I will listen to the full work in the next days for the first time in decades. I was happy to find these tracks on youtube because they are better than not hearing the masterpiece at all. The CDs are sold out right now at Amazon.com.....but you can order them from my favorite little Indie music store, cd baby, who has them in stock. Here is the link to the direct page: cdbaby has paul horn! cdbaby is "the largest online distributor of independent music" and they are based in great Portland, Oregon.



This is Track 1 from Paul Horn's 'Inside the Great Pyramid'. This track was played from within the "King's Chamber". Get a nice set of head phones for this one! ~youtube uploader


Paul Horn spoke about recording Inside the Great Pyramid in 1976 in an interview found here:
It was about eight years later (after the successful release of Inside the Taj Mahal in 1968). Someone suggested it to me because the Taj Mahal album had been so successful and people were probably looking for more of the same. When a friend was thinking about some very special places in the world the Great Pyramid came to mind. I thought it was a wonderful idea, so about a year later I was on my way to Egypt with a group of people and managed to get inside the Great Pyramid to do the recording. Again it was the same kind of meditative experience, but something a little different because the building is a part of the music too. The history and the mystery of the pyramids is different from the history of the Taj Mahal. There's a history in the Taj Mahal that's about three hundred years old. It's a marvellous world-famous building and it has wonderful acoustics, but there's no mystery to it. The Great Pyramid is five thousand years old, minimum, and there are lots of theories about how it was built, why it was built, when it was built, and all of that. But no one really has a definitive answer. So it's a very mysterious place, and it's a very powerful place. That feeling, that mystery and that history became part of the music.

The Great Pyramid is now in potential danger. From the Wall Street Journal, Feb. 1, 2011:
In the past Egypt also experienced outbursts of Islamic radicalism that claimed artifacts and monuments. Napoleon usually gets the blame for destroying the nose of the Great Sphinx at Giza, but historical sources blame the 14th-century iconoclast Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr. The outer casing stones of the pyramids at Giza were carried off, also in the 14th century, by the Sultan An-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din al-Hasan to build the mosques of Cairo. But today Egypt's past is one of the country's most important sources of income. Some 14 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010. Still, in the modern era the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has made it clear that it wants to Islamify all aspects of Egyptian life. This will inevitably reach into the Egyptian treatment of the past.

The only thing I can do to ease the stress from thinking about Great Pyramids suffering damage is to............ go inside.



Track 2


Track 3



Track 4
The Great Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren)





photo of Pyramids via PortPromotions.com




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13 comments:

mythopolis said...

Nice! I have this very same album! One of the things that intrigued Horn was the acoustics of the pyramid's interior. A single note would linger in the air, even as the next was being sounded. I think this is referred to as the length of decay (of the sound). The blending of the notes this way created a sound unique to that environment. I passed my vinyl on to my son. Suppose I should go get it on cd. My original had gotten a bit scratchy over the years. Thanks for reminding me of this!

I certainly hope in Egypt's current transition that looting and pillaging of national treasures will be thwarted!

Kittie Howard said...

Hub and I lived in Egypt for a year and visited the National Museum countless times. I think of those fabulous buddhas in Afghanistan and cringe. It's great locals have ringed the Museum, but I'm worried about later. There's so much poverty in Egypt...

Phivos Nicolaides said...

This is a stunning post Lydia and great condribution to culture and civilization. Kind regards from Budpaest, Hungary.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Very nice. Thanks for sharing I enjoyed it a lot.

Cheers!
Julie
Julie Magers Soulen Photography

Kathe W. said...

I was there in 1983....very cool post.

kj said...

lydia, fascinating and wonderful.

and so soulfully calming.

fingers crossed for egypt. so far, no violence. if it stays that way, that is a good example for the world.

love
kj

English Rider said...

I have been so impressed that, amidst all the turmoil, the Egyptian people have formed unarmed human barricades around their museums, lest they be looted.

Rhiannon said...

History being destroyed is very scary isn't it? I love the history of countries and their art and pyramids and paintings or whatever they may be.

I have always wished to see all of these treasures throughout Europe and other countries. I did get to see the King tut mummies and Art displayed in Washington D.C. It was mind boggling. Something I will never forget. Between that and all the places I saw about Japanese history when in Japan in the 70's. I loved the Temple where when we went in the monks or Buddists ask for complete silence as they pray and kneel on the floor and bang the gong against the golden thing..sorry not sure what they call it? :O) It was a wonderful spiritual peaceful moment for me, along with the climb to the top of Mt. Fuji.

I am feeling good however that so many in Egypt that have been living such difficult lives, for so long, have now stood up (most of them in peaceful demonstration without guns, maybe we could learn something from them?)and I am very proud of their courage and wish them onwards to a better and more "free" Egypt.

I just hope and pray for our own country to grow up and learn the "spiritual lessons" that we so need to.

Lydia, I posted the predictions of the Chinese New Year of the Metal Rabbit (I am one) and it looks like things will change in a total opposite direction (hopefully) and people come together and reach out more. Hope you'll go to my dreamweaver blog and to the top right you can click under the Chinese Rabbit pic (will take you to my other blog)I posted there to read the Chinese metal Rabbit year (The New year starts Feb.3rd)and how it will hopefully be.

Still cold here and the stagnant air has been the worst quality in years here, the air is usually wonderful here in winter.

Take care and stay well.

Love,

Rhi

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

ok - well i'll have to come back again sometime to hear the tracks, but i'm more curious as to how he went about getting permission to record there. I believe that the interior is now closed to visitors due to erosion.

Much like the Great Wall bits of it have been taken during the years - so i guess preseving it now is going to depend on the worth of tourists coming to see it and spending money, but in many ways that also contributes to its decay - so its a tough line to walk

Lydia said...

mythopolis~ I bet your son treasures the album. If you get the cd version let me know your opinion, as it appears it includes tracks not included in the original.

Ditto on your final sentence!

Kittie Howard~ That is fascinating that you lived there and frequented the museum. Wow.

I have thought about those giant Buddhas so many times since they were ruined. It was a powerful lesson to the world to keep an eye out on events. Awareness instead of blindness is powerful (I hope).

Phivos~ You are now in Budapest? that is exciting and I look forward to photos at your blog. Thank you for taking a moment to look at my post and to leave your thoughtful comment.

Julie~ Am glad you did. So nice to have you here. :)

Kathe W~ I envy you for having been able to visit Egypt. Let's hope that the future for travel there is bright.

kj~ Many thanks. I totally agree that the example the people have set thus far is stupendous. Yes, indeed, fingers crossed. Saw Piers Morgan tonight interviewing Tony Blair, and he asked if Blair didn't wish that perhaps they had waited for a peoples' movement like this one to occur in Iraq. Great question, interesting reply...

English Rider~ I am so impressed by that act also. The vulnerability is so raw, though, both for the museum contents and its brave protectors...

Rhi~ How wonderful that you had that time in Japan. It sounds like you enjoyed the full experience; that can't help but to have left a huge impression on you.

Ditto your third paragraph. I can hardly believe what we are witnessing!

You have mentioned the changing of the Chinese year and I added the date in my sidebar where I will be changing that picture of the tiger holding the umbrella. I look forward to hopping (!) over to your blog to read what you have posted about the foundation/meaning of the rabbit year. )( (i am trying to figure out a way to make bunny ears and a nose, but don't have it yet)

Lydia said...

Pixies~ Oh, there is a lot out there about his "Inside" sessions. I don't remember the particulars about the permission he obtained but what you have added makes his recording there all the more historical. That is super.

Was listening to a program on National Public Radio the other day that went in depth into the issue of destruction by erosion/lack of maintenance, etc. v. the need/desire to preserve and enjoy those places and things. At least we are thinking about it now, where those who preceded us had blatant disregard or not the knowledge to fuel concern.

the watercats said...

My brother visited the pyramids about ten years ago and there were large areas that were off limits to the public. He said the atmosphere inside the ones you could go into was very oppresive, he felt like he was not meant to be there and was relieved to get back out... which, considering you're effectively entering someones resting place which had lord knows how many full on heavy duty rituals happen in them, it's not surprising! These tracks are intriguing, and certainly wouldn't be allowed to be recorded today I'd say!

Lydia said...

the watercats~ What an interesting report from your brother's trip there. Never even considered that, and I wonder if others had that same sensation as he did. Fascinating.

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