Gentle Yet Powerful Music
Secret Garden is composed, primarily, of Fionnaula Sherry and Rolf Lovland. This writer will not give you full biographies here; they are available at the website. It is sufficient to say that Ms. Sherry is a fully-trained classical violinist from County Kildare in Ireland and educated at Trinity College. Mr. Lovland is Norwegian, and was trained in music at the conservatory in Kristiansand and at the Norwegian Institute of Music in Oslo. Rolf Lovland composes all of the music, and the duo is supported by a variety of musicians.
In an age of CD, mp3, heavyweight electronics, inflated and pompous bass, and treble that will vibrate the fillings in your teeth, Secret Garden chooses a different path. They touch your heart and soul by using traditional instruments in natural, acoustic space. The music succeeds, and succeeds beyond this music-lover’s wildest expectations.
Secret Garden is romantic; that much is obvious from the very first selection on the CD, Nocturne. However, their romanticism is not the romanticism of heavy metal or a synth-pop dance track. It is not the romanticism of The Beatles, or 1950’s American soul, or Rachmaninoff and Sibelius. It is the romanticism of a simpler time, when people appreciated a snowy winter’s day, or a gentle spring rain, or a family gathering in front of the fireplace.
The music is simple and evocative. Track three, Moving, suggested a jogger to this writer. For track 11, Celebration, a small, simple wedding came to mind. In addition, the track is Celtic in its style from beginning to end.
Fionnuala Sherry: Violin
Rolf Lovland: composer, piano, keyboards
supporting musicians and orchestra
Phillips 314 546 869–2 CD
Some of the music suggested Hobbit country and Middle-Earth. Other tracks suggested an older era and place, when humanity was much more in touch with the earth and the environment. And some tracks suggested the simple, gentle beauty of love between a man and a woman or a mother and child.
All of the music is well-recorded and has a nice, warm ambience. The musicianship is superb. The backing musicians and orchestra provide a warmth and richness to the music. The percussion is present and accentuates the melody and harmony nicely, but never becomes overbearing.
If you want a break from modern pop and symphony orchestras performing Mozart and Hayden with eighty-plus players, visit the website for a sample. Then purchase the CD. The music of this duo is marvelous.
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