The minimalist compositions for guitar and voice on Aurora Song were inspired by the landscapes and folklore of the Far North, particularly of Iceland and Norway. Each piece is intended to musically enact its verbal title. For example, with “Hidden People” the listener is supposed to hear in each guitar fragment, fading in and out of sound, the appearance and disappearance of elf-like beings, as they allow themselves to be briefly seen and apprehended by humans. Another example is that during “Midnight Sun” there is a moment when the guitar takes a turn towards the finale and this is like the instant when the sun, after having touched the horizon on the summer solstice, once again rises, while birdsong echoes the dawn in the middle of night. Vocals accompany three out of five pieces and are meant to introduce human emotions, whether joyous or grieving, into the soundscape mimicking the Northern lands and sea.

I would like to acknowledge the writer Gillian Cummings, my wife & traveling companion whose vocal melodies provided the inspiration for this CD. Though I wrote all of the guitar music, Gillian wrote some of the vocal lines in AURORA SONG and MIDNIGHT SUN. Additionally, BURNING BOAT was in large part her concept. Thank you, Gillian, for being crazy enough to sing whenever you’re near  water, and for being my shining star.

Special thanks to my mother, Elaine Panish, who gave me my first guitar at age nine and who has always been there for me. To my friend and fellow composer David Gelfand, whose music taught me so much about harmony when I was in my teens—thank you, Dave, for inspiring me then and now.

                                                                           —Rich Panish


Guitar  -Marc Wolf
Voice -Rebecca Ehren

Cover art, “Song from the Sky”, Julianne Farella
Design, Jeremy Tressler