Image © 1999 Mercury Records
Image © Universal Music 2000
latest album, Dawn Of A New Century
(Mercury Records 538 838 2, 1999), like their two
earlier albums, combines contemporary classical music
with Celtic themes. With perfect production, the album's
thirteen tracks are instrumentally rich, featuring
Fionnuala Sherry's stunning violin parts and the
tremendous keyboard work of Rolf Løvland. Once again
Løvland has composed all the music, and has also arranged
and produced the album with Fionnuala Sherry as co-producer.
Additional vocals have been contributed by Karen Matheson
Anne Karin Kaasa, Nikki Matheson and the Irish choir,
Anuna, conducted by Michael McGlynn. Fionnuala makes her
vocal debut in the everso sweet ballad "Sona."
The artists have significantly improved the stature
of their vocal arrangements especially in the title track.
Violin passages are a trademark of any Secret Garden
release and they have reached new heights this time.
The tremendous fiddle performances in the elaborately
arranged traditional dance tunes "Elan," "Children Of
The River" and "Lore Of The Loom" would all be equally
at home within either the Riverdance or the
Lord Of The Dance soundtracks. "In Our Tears"
and "Aquarell" are typical of Secret Garden, both
combining the accuracy and warmth of Rolf's keys
with Fionnula's sensitive violin work.
Karen Matheson's vocals in "Prayer" bring Capercaillie
to mind; the sound is later developed further with
another vocalist in "Dreamcatcher" with more of a
classical feel. "Evensong" has obvious Anuna
vocal influences while Secret Garden's instrumental
arrangements breathe a unique warmth into them. A
dynamically stunning contemporary classical piece
featuring violin, keys and lush orchestral parts called
"Divertimento" is a clear testament to the artists'
songwriting and performing capabilities and an
The title track is truly epic in its proportions
- a memorable melody arises from a powerful fusion of
traditional Celtic and classical progressions; it is
presented with narration, choir and orchestra and
builds to a fantastic climax as the album concludes.
You can find soundbites, further reviews and order the album at amazon.com
here. A tremendous 170 minute DVD is also available and can be
ordered from amazon.com
here. Clearly, this stunning album is a must listen. CD and DVD: