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Album Review: Sanctuary
George Skaroulis
Cover image of the album Sanctuary by George Skaroulis
George Skaroulis
2006 / Evzone Music
51 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The release of Sanctuary marks pianist/composer George Skaroulis’ tenth anniversary with Evzone Music, and could be his best release to date. I have been a big fan of Skaroulis’ music for many years, and he is one of the few pianists who make ambient music really work on the piano. Several of the pieces have keyboard accompaniment, but this is definitely a piano album. I have to mention that I recently drove to Oregon for vacation, and Sanctuary was playing in my car for the full seven-hour drive. The volume was low for much of the trip, but the gentle, peaceful music was so calming and it actually enhanced the experience of driving through the California redwoods - not an easy task in such spectacular scenery! Usually when I listen to a CD several times in a row, I need a change, but this music just seemed to keep getting more pleasant and evocative. The album was inspired by and is dedicated to massage therapists, reflexologists, natural healers, and caregivers around the world, and is sure to bring an hour of serenity to all who hear it.

The CD opens with “Ray of Hope,” a quiet meditation on the power of hope. Warm yet introspective, it’s a lovely, melodic beginning. “Blue” is much more ambient in style with shimmering strings in the background and a gently haunting piano setting the mood. “Rain” is a gorgeous mood piece that includes the sound of rain and thunder. Skaroulis told me awhile ago that one of his favorite things to do is to sit on his balcony during a rainstorm, and that kind of blissful peace counters the more turbulent sounds of the storm - an amazing piece! “Passionata” is a musical vignette. At just under a minute, it is perfect in its brevity and sweetness. “I Believe (Is Agios)” is a traditional Greek piece that has been on several of Skaroulis’ recordings, but is always a treat, as is “Shenandoah,” which has also been on other albums. “My Star, My Moon” is full of passion and love with its poignant piano melody and accompanying strings. Wow! The title track is the musical interpretation and description of perfect peace. “The Power of Touch” is another tiny gem that says all it needs to say in less than two minutes. “Goddess” first appeared on “Athena,” and is sure to become one of Skaroulis’ signature pieces.

Sanctuary is incredible, so if you are looking for a musical massage, I can’t recommend this CD enough. The music is effortless in the background, but is oh so beautiful to close your eyes and get lost in. A definite Top 10 for my 2006 list! Sanctuary is available from evzonemusic.com and amazon.com.
October 30, 2006
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Kathy's Favorites: 2006
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