Inside the Great Pyramid

reviewed by Kristine Morris

by Paul Horn

Inside the Great PyramidWith the rerelease of this moving and graceful album, a whole new generation of listeners is introduced to the mystical and acoustically astounding recording made by jazz flautist and New Age music pioneer Paul Horn as he played within the Great Pyramid of Egypt in May 1976. But be warned: listening to these sounds spoils the ear for music played under normal conditions. The womb-like space of the King’s Chamber can cause a single tone to soar and shimmer in the air in such as manner as to seem to hold within itself the potentiality of all music.

Horn was born in New York City in 1930, studied fl ute at the Oberlin Conservatory, and earned a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He has performed with the likes of Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, R. Carlos Nakai, and others. Upon moving to Vancouver Island, BC, he formed his own quintet and recorded film scores for the National Film Board of Canada.

Horn studied the pyramids and their mysteries before undertaking the recording. “The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest, heaviest, oldest, and most perfect building ever created by human hands,” he said. He reported having felt comfortable and without fear as he meditated within the King’s Chamber before he played. “The King’s Chamber had its own vibration, made up of all the events that had taken place there. When I played, I opened myself to these vibrations; their presence came through me, into the music, out into the air. David Greene [then his recording engineer] and I were in the heart of the power center, enclosed within a huge mass of solid rock, bathed in the tremendous energy that came through because of the structural perfection of its geometric dimensions and its exact true-north alignment. Our own vibrations mingled with the vibrations of the room, increasing the intensity of our feelings.”

The echo of each tone lasted about eight seconds, with sounds rising and cascading back and forming chords, and as Horn improvised, responding intuitively to the sounds, he felt as though he were playing with another musician. Listeners have reported experiencing “the essence of the pyramids,” and some have experienced what they believe to be recollections of past lives in Egypt while listening.

> Back to May/June 2011 Reviews

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