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May 2005

Secret Garden
Earthsongs
Decca Records

The duo Secret Garden presents a collection of sweeping, evocative compositions on Earthsongs (Decca). The group, comprising Norwegian keyboardist/composer Rolf Lovland and Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry, has created lush, symphonic pieces that are often breathtakingly beautiful, such as the soaring "Sometimes When It Rains," the haunting, classically inflected "When Darkness Falls" and the delicate "Grace," which features flugelhorn and violin interplay. "Lotus" has an ethereal, serene quality, and the duo gets more animated on the Celtic dance numbers "The Reel" and "Daughters of Erin." The classical singer Russell Watson sings on the ballad "Always There," his lovely tenor backed by a gospel choir. "Always There" is one of four vocal tracks; the others are the ballad "Sleepsong," performed by the Irish singer Saoirse, "Half a World Away," movingly sung by Norwegian singer Jan Werner Danielsen, and the inspirational closer "Raise Your Voices," performed by an Irish choir and resembling the Christmas classic "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Originally published in May 2005
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