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Pamela Sklar: Silver Pharaoh - An Original Tribute To Ancient Egypt

Sklar,Pamela
Release Date: 02/11/2014 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1498   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Pamela SklarJohn ArrucciThomas SefcovicMonica Gerard,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 44 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SKLAR Sahara Trance 1. Hatshepset 2. A Memory of You 3. Silver Pharoah 4. Dance of Life 5. Flutes from the Other Side 6. Styx 7. Journey to the Afterlife 8. Spell 166 Read more class="SUPER12">9. eseo: highlights Pamela Sklar, 9 Joseph Piscitelli (fl); 9 Andrew Bolotowsky, 9 Dominique Soucy (alt fl); 9 Lisa Arkis (pic); 2,3,5 John Arrucci (perc); 3 Alyssa Reir (Egyptian hp); 3 Barry Hartglass (fretless bass); 4 Kathy Halvoroson, (ob); 4 Katie Scheele, 4 Mark Snyder, (Eh); 5,7,8 Thomas Sefcovic (contrabassoon); 8 Monica Gerard (va); 8 Enid Blount Press (bs cl); 9 Douglas Kostner (org) MSR 1498 (43:52)


Composer Pamela Skylar is fascinated by how Ancient Egypt whispers to us, even today: through Art Deco, but also as an example of how to behave politically (in the case of Amenhotep III, how he developed alliances in the region); today of course in terms of Egyptian history we opera enthusiasts are more au fait via Philip Glass with Amenhotep IV, otherwise known as Akhnaten. The present disc, entitled Silver Pharaoh , explores Skylar’s fascination. Her previous release on MSR was another tribute, on that occasion to Native American Jazz (MSR 1484).


The stated purpose of the first piece, Sahara Trance , is to induce an altered state of consciousness. The melody unfurls slowly, before multi-tracking allows polyphony (the same multi-tracking is used in the rather lovely Flutes from the Other Side , for flutes and bass flute). The rhythms of Hatshepsut (a female pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty) seem on one plane primal, on another they carry a jazz-like undercurrent. The arrival of the rather sensual A Memory of You comes as a surprise; the music is faded electronically into nothing.


Written for the oboe trio Threads performing here, Silver Pharaoh is scored for oboe and two English horns. This rather objective sound, coupled with some rather ascorbic harmonies, seems to invoke Stravinsky in Neoclassicist garb and is frankly delightful, especially when spiked with the occasional reference to jazz (a little more authentic, in Sklar’s case, than Stravinsky’s efforts in this direction). The laid-back rhythms of Dance of Life seem the logical continuation.


The combination of bass flute and contrabassoon is a new one for me, and it works excellently in Styx . This piece is the first of three pieces of longer duration than hitherto, averaging around seven minutes instead of three. It is distinctly unhurried, a civilized conversation between two instruments that rarely encounter one another so directly. The arrival of the throaty tones of a viola in Journey to the Afterlife (for viola, flute, bass clarinet, and contrabassoon) imparts a crepuscular element; the sense of slow but unstoppable onward movement is strong, but so is the awareness that both timbrally and harmonically the sound is soft, welcoming even. Taken from The Book of the Dead, Spell 166 refers to the magical properties of the headrest for the body of the deceased to protect them in the afterlife. The use of five flutes creates something of a magical sound, underpinned here by the sound of an organ. The piece is expertly written, the organ taking on a rather more dramatic aspect later in the piece.


Sklar presents a fascinating exploration of Ancient Egypt using contemporary sound. Well worth exploring.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sahara Trance, for flute by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Pamela Sklar (Flute)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2.
Hatshepsut, for bass flute & percussion by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Pamela Sklar (), John Arrucci (Percussion)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
3.
Dance of Life, for flute & percussion by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Pamela Sklar (Flute), John Arrucci (Percussion)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 4 Minutes 40 Secs. 
4.
Flutes from the Other Side, for 3 flutes & bass flute by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Pamela Sklar (), Pamela Sklar (Flute)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
5.
Styx, for bass flute & contrabassoon by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Pamela Sklar (), Thomas Sefcovic (Contrabassoon)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 7 Minutes 7 Secs. 
6.
Journey to the Afterlife, for viola, flute, bass clarinet & contrabassoon by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Pamela Sklar (Flute), Monica Gerard (Viola), Thomas Sefcovic (Contrabassoon),
Enid Blount ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 6 Minutes 48 Secs. 
7.
A Memory of You, for Egyptian harp, flute, fretless bass & percussion by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Pamela Sklar (Flute), John Arrucci (Percussion), Barry Hartglass (Fretless Bass),
Alyssa Reit (Harp), Pamela Sklar ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
8.
Silver Pharaoh, for oboe & 2 English horns by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Threeds Trio] [Oboe (Trio)
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
9.
Spell 166, for piccolo, flute, 2 alto flutes, bass flute & organ by Pamela Sklar
Performer:  Andrew Bolotowsky (), Lisa Arkis (Piccolo), Dominque Soucy (),
Joseph Piscitelli (Flute), Douglas Kostner (Organ), Pamela Sklar ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 2012-13 
Venue:  Sliding Door Studio, New Rochelle, New Y 
Length: 8 Minutes 45 Secs. 

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