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Winter Poem

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Album Review

According to pianist Rolf Løvland, Irish-Norwegian neo-classical duo Secret Garden's seventh studio album, Winter Poem, was inspired by the "darkness that surrounds the Scandinavian winter." While there's a genuine sense of melancholy laced throughout its largely instrumental 11 tracks, fans of their luscious new age sound needn't fear a new gothic reinvention, as there's very little here likely to find its way onto a horror movie soundtrack. Indeed, the stately piano chords and sweeping string arrangements (courtesy of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra) of opener "Make a Wish" feel more suited to a Downton Abbey-esque costume drama, while elsewhere the lilting "Anticipation" recalls the emotive ivory-tinkling of Ludovico Einaudi's understated scores, the more uptempo "Fionnuala's Cookie Jar" is a highly percussive Irish jig packed with Celtic fiddles and tin whistles, and "Suite," a 15-minute overture written especially for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, reveals that Løvland and violinist Fionnuala Sherry are capable of realizing their symphonic ambitions. The three vocal tracks are just as quintessentially Secret Garden. "The Dream" is a lavishly haunting affair underpinned by muted beats, emotionally stirring strings, and lullaby-ish melodies, sung by Clannad's Moya Brennan in her own unmistakable ethereal style; Riverdance vocalist Fionnuala Gill lends her quivering glass-shattering tones to the atmospheric ballad "Mary's Lament"; while "Powered by Nature" (written by Brendan Graham, the man responsible for the now ubiquitous "You Raise Me Up") is a valiant attempt to replicate the anthemic qualities of their most enduring song. Winter Poem is unlikely to convert those who have previously likened their music to wallpaper, but while it's true that there's nothing particularly challenging or inventive on offer here, it's hard to disagree with the opinion that what they do, they do very well. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Haunting and Beautiful

At long last, Secret Garden has produced a new album. Once again, the melodies are haunting, beautiful and inspiring. This is the group that gave us, "You Raise Me Up," which has been sung by anyone who is anyone. Now, we have the suite that they wrote and performed in China, along with other amazing productions. The album before Winter Poem, "Inside I'm Singing" has never been available through ITunes and is a another masterpiece of new vocal and instrumental music. So now we have new music, and I can almost hear famous singers asking for lyrics to songs such as "Frozen in Time," and "Song for a New Beginning." How marvelous that this album is finally here.


I love this recording by Secret Garden as well to Brian Crain's Piano and Violin Duet and Dustin O'Halloran's Lumiere.

Winter Poem

This is a delightful collection. I love all of Secret Garden's CD's but this one seems to have gone back to the simplicity of their earliest ones. I especially like "The Dream" and "Anticipation". "Fionnuala's Cookie Jar" is also a fun treat.


Genre: New Age

Years Active: '90s

The winners of the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest, Norwegian neo-classical duo Secret Garden formed in 1994 around Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry and Norwegian pianist Rolf Løvland, the co-writer of Norway's 1985 Eurovision victor "La Det Swingge." Secret Garden's own Eurovision victory was notable as the first (and, so far, only) time a predominantly instrumental song has won the competition -- the contributions of guest vocalist Gunnhild Tvinnereim were clearly written to ensure the piece met with...
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Winter Poem, Secret Garden
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Customer Ratings