Emerald CD small

Peter Haeder's EMERALD consists of original compositions and inventive arrangements of traditional European music for layered acoustic and electric guitars. The music is melodic, emotive, and expertly arranged and performed.

This is an album that instantly draws the listener in. Each track is lyrical and emotional, simple and direct - yet the album is full of subtly complex arrangements. This is music that serenades the soul.

The album consists of 10 tracks - 9 original compositions and 1 re-working of a traditional song. Added to the guitars are voice, bass, and discrete percussion.

The album was co-produced by Peter and award-winning New Zealand producer, Steve Garden, who also engineered and mixed the album.

10 tracks. 44 minutes. Six page booklet. Cardboard slipcase. $NZ20

Hear samples of selected tracks:

Frere Jacque
A Broken Sword
Sonata for Assiza
Zwerg Nase
Their Dreams
Before the Storm
Fire Cicle
E.B.E. Goes Home


Visit Peter Haeder's website here


We rarely get customer comments about any of the music we play, and this CD attracted the most comments of any CD I have played. EVER. This album is a joyful mix of tracks, that shows that the album description, for once, is accurate and not just marketing hype.

All tracks were enjoyed as an ambient music for the shop that was never distracting, and just added to the relaxed atmosphere we have in the shop, at times bordering on a relaxation CD, without the extraneous whale-song, waterfalls or other organic sounds. This CD did all that on pure talent and musicianship.


Guitarist Haeder - who sometimes records as phaeder - has certainly spread his talents widely: he's played avant-garde improvised music; made music for film and television; done an album of almost life-threateningly fast techno (Lotus Beat of 2003); and, as a longtime Buddhist, has recorded haunting deevotional chants.

On Emerald however he pulls up a rack of mostly acoustic guitars and sits down for some fire-side melodies which are as enchanting as they are interesting. From another room it might sound like a Guitars by Moonlight album, but closer listening reveals that Haeder's melodies are much more complex than that. That said however, he never abandons the listener to become indulgent, and keeps the focus on developing his gentle tunes and teasing out their harmonies. Think Julian Bream rather than massage music in other words - although these tunes are certainly also restful.



Peter Haeder, originally from northern Germany, moved to New Zealand 23 years ago. He quickly established himself as a leading avant-garde guitarist and composer for film and television, with his outstanding sense of pop/jazz/blues/ melody and hooks. He has worked with New Zealand's top performance artists to wide acclaim, playing to standing ovations at Womad and Free Tibet.

He studied Performance Art with Prof. Harry Kramer at the prestigious Arts School in Kassel, Germany and played for Germany’s Cultural Minister on invitation. Peter is also a long-time Buddhist with a profound mastery of the esoteric one voice chord chant, now only taught at two monasteries in the world. Over the past five years, and much to the amusement of the Tibetan Lamas, he has married this with his German electronic roots with Flamenco and Jazz.

Q + A

What was your intention behind this album?
Emerald was a step away for me from all the fast guitar playing I have done in the past. In essence I wanted to write music specific for guitar, which is beautiful and healing, and also capitalises on the capabilities of that instrument. There are things you can do with a guitar that you can not do with a keyboard for instance or a reed instrument. In addition, for me Emerald is rooted in spirituality and the European landscape. While composing it I had visions of the forests around my home town area, laden with legends and myths – some of which are found to be true, like the "dwarfs who lived in the mountains and made swords.” All the music on Emerald is steeped in the more classical way of triadic chord structures and melodic playing. For instance, on Sonata for Assiza I use a lute technique, playing with the flesh of the thumb. That gives the guitar a fat sound with a soft attack, somehow like a voice.

What was the process of recording it?
When I first came to the studio with Steve [Garden, the album’s engineer, mixer and co-producer], I had a bottle of red wine, and we sat and discussed how we were going to record. I had "trained up" for the recordings with metronome and fret exercises ready to launch. Steve suggested we forget about that and instead let the music do its own thing. From that appeared a quality unique to guitar playing, lilting. So, instead of striving for the technically perfect take I meditated before and during recording sessions to reach deep into the spiritual side of the music and manifest that. I hope people can hear that in the music.

Did you draw on any musical influences while conceiving and making this album?
Obviously the whole European composers’ tradition, particularly Bach. Then there are my favourite guitareros like Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin and John Abercrombie. And also the more avant-garde noise artists of the seventies and eighties. Even though listeners may not pick up on it at first take, there are a few interesting sounds on the album, made by using a guitar in unconventional ways, Steve always encouraged that sort of thing to  enhance the ambience of the album, and I went for it because I love experimenting. Then there is my love of "weird" time signatures. For example, EBE Goes Home starts with 6/8, goes to 3/4, and ends in a straight 4/4. I find improvising on those time signatures a challenge, and when it works it's really quite something. The reason for writing it this way was an attempt to get a handle on how music from an advanced "Alien" culture could possibly sound. (EBE means Extra Terrestrial Biological Entity.) Fire Circle must be the fastest work on the album. I used my old Admira with a pick, crisp take too! Alberto Santarelli bows a beautiful drone on the double base on this one – very yummy!

What would you like the audience to take away after listening to Emerald?
Feeling good and being relaxed. Maybe going on a journey with me to those green forests and lakes after a hard day’s work with a glass of Bordeaux and a spoonful of Sauerkraut (I am joking!)