Songs From a Secret Garden
Secret Garden’s debut album after their momentous win of the European Melody Grand Prix in 1994. Upon the release of this album, composer Rolf Løvland wrote the following – “Somewhere within us all there is a secret garden. A garden in which we can seek refuge when times are rough, or retire to in joy or contemplation. For years I have visited my own secret garden in search of organic harmony and melody. The songs on this CD are some of what I’ve found”.
“In 1994 I met an artist who through the soulful simplicity of her instrument gave my songs a voice. She is the famed Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry. Together we have tended the secret garden – and the crop is here for your picking. It is my sincere wish that by uncovering some of our secrets, you will pay a visit to your own garden”. – Rolf Lovland
Tracklist, Lyrics & Purchase
Selected Audio Clips
Nocturne, written in 1992, is a simple melody inspired by traditional moods. It’s possible the combination of mood and simplicity has made it so universally popular, appealing to audiences from Japan to Iceland. Yes, presenting it to an audience of four hundred million people in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995 was an awesome risk for Secret Garden. Winning it meant a fantastic launch. Nocturne was the start of a special musical relationship, and represents the beginning of the Secret Garden history. We will always be grateful and inspired by the beautiful voice of Gunnhild Tvinnereim, and the famous 24 words by Petter Skavlan.
Lyrics by Petter Skavlan
La dagen få
sin hvile nå
og natten vil våke for den,
Se mørket må
så natten kan føde en dag.
Now let the day
Just slip away
So the dark night
May watch over you
Though darkness lay
It will give way
When the dark night
Delivers the day
Norwegian and Irish culture and traditions are unified in this piece as a kind of Secret Garden synthesis. Pastorale refers in a way to a spiritual landscape. Music is a link of communication between people. It makes us understand and discover when words are not enough. Music can also be a guide to find our own sources, and to put names to our own emotional landscapes.
Song From A Secret Garden
The idea of Secret Garden is one that everyone can relate to. We all have landscapes inside us, secret rooms where feelings and impressions grow as a little garden. Some talk about it, write poems or letters, paint, or even take a walk to reflect over life. We all have our own way. But what is common to us, is a strong emotional feeling that is an essential part of our nature. My way of dealing with this is through music, and everything I write comes from my secret garden. This simple piece had no other name than “Pianopiece in C minor” for many years. But when the Secret Garden project evolved, I felt this piece could express the essence of my ideas–the simple melody straight from the heart, expressed through Fionnuala’s soulful, vulnerable and naked violin playing.
Sigma was originally a piano piece I wrote in a melancholic night during a production I worked on in Bergen. The title, taken from the actual name of the studio, has stayed with us ever since. Not knowing how to include Sigma in the Secret Garden project, Fionnuala suggested adding a sung counter-melody, almost Gregorian in style. David Agnew wrote the Irish lyrics. With the lovely voice of the 11 year old Rhonan Sugure and the Irish National Chamber Choir, the recording of Sigma occurred with a very strong spiritual mood.
Lyrics by David Agnew
Bim ar thoir an comhartha
Scaoileas m’anam saor
Caithfidh mo chroi a
Roimh siochan theacht crum
Ni leanfaidh Brón
Is Béim sásta le mo ghrá
Mé a chomhlíonadh
Bim ar thoir an comhartha
Scaoileas m’anam saor
Caithfidh mo chroi a
Roimh siochan theacht crum
Sí an ghaoth do ghuth
Sí an bháisteach do dheora
Grian, do chroí ar las
Do spiorad mo shlánú
I search for the sign
That will set my soul free
My heart must be pure
So that I can find peace
My grief cannot last forever
My love will be fulfilled
I pray a sign will help me
Be all that I can be
Repeat first verse
The wind is your voice
The rain is your tears
Your burning heart
And spirit is my salvation
© 1995 Universal Music Norway / Blue Dandelion Publishers, IMRO
This is a somewhat impressionistic piece based on major 7ths and 9ths. The spirits of Erik Satie and Claude Debussy are present. The title Papillon (French for butterfly) also leans in that direction. This piece was written during a studio recording session in Iceland in 1994, and is perhaps the music I like best in the collection from a composer’s point of view. The phrases in the descending melody line are telling a story, and should not only be played as a broken chord. The music should be simple and delicate just like a butterfly dancing from one flower to another.
Serenade To Spring
This piece was written in 1991 and recorded by Elisabeth Andreasson on her CD, Stemninger. The vocal version called “Danse mot vår,” has since been frequently performed. We included it as an instrumental version in the album, with the violin performing the vocal part. A beautifully played violin can be just as expressive as the human voice.
This piece was written in 1976 and is the oldest one in this collection. Its inspiration stems from the modal tonality found in the music of Grieg and other composers influenced by their own cultures. Atlantia is colored by Norwegian traditional music, and in the recording of it we see that tradition interact with the very similar Irish tradition. We emphasized that similarity with the use of the low whistle and the Uileann pipes. Is it the Atlantic Ocean that connects the two cultures? Is Atlantia that Norwegian Viking ship sailing through the early mist into Dublin harbor? In a way I can’t explain, I feel a musical relationship to Irish music.
We have invisible heart-strings between us. Our hearts are woven into these fine and sensitive threads that tie us together. These strings can only be seen with our hearts. But sometimes we step on these strings because we are not careful enough and that causes strong pain. Heartstrings are about missing someone and the invisible strings of our hearts.
Adagio was written in Spain while working on a project in 1988. This is quite natural for me, as I have always had a great urge to define my own creative identity while working for other artists. A creative balance. Bach, the great master, inspires Adiago. So often I’ve been taken by the strong melancholy in Bach’s slow movements. Adiago was originally released in a piano book called “Nine Pianopieces for Maria and Other Children” in 1989 with the title “Where the Words End.” Music is to me stronger than words and when I can’t find words to express my feelings, I use music.
The Rap is a strange story. I originally wrote it as a Norwegian traditional tune in 4/4 time. Fionnuala Sherry and I recorded a demo of it in my home studio. It was the last song that late evening and it had no title. Fionnuala said, “Let’s do the wrap,” and ever since the title has been The Rap. One night during the recording of the CD in Iceland, I “heard” the tune in 5/4 time in a dream. When I woke up the next morning, I was singing it the way I had dreamt it. The subconscious had been making a successful twist and all of a sudden, The Rap began to swing. We welcomed the Irish influence with the use of whistles, pipes and drums. The rhythm seems complicated, changing from 5/4 to 6/4, but I’m sure you find the melody quite natural and easy to “sing,” without having to count!
The word “chaconne” refers to a boroque dance form, a melody moving to a constant bass figure or ostinato. This Chaconne meets none of thesis requirements. But the poetic sound of the word and a strong baroque feeling is the background for the title. The French Suites by Bach have made a strong impression on me, and some elements in Chaconne remind me of them. Chaconne was written in 1994.
Here the “Italian emotions” is awakened. Sentimentality under the Italian moonlight. Feelings are sometimes suppressed and we are afraid to show them. I am very fascinated by the old black and white silent movies because the actors could only show emotions, no dialogue. I could envision a movie like that when Cantoluna was written. The title itself is a very free construction of words made of canto, which means “song” in Italian, and luna, which means “moon.” On the recording we used the mandolin and the clarinet to let the romantic, Italian feeling through. People often ask what kind of music Secret Garden is. Is it classical, Norwegian or Irish traditional music, world music or new age? I don’t know. I only know that the music comes straight from the heart, and contains elements of all this. Some even says it sounds like film music because it’s so visual. That opinion is the closest I come to a classification, because I often see a story when I write music. Maybe it could be called “music to a film never shown?”
Ode to Simplicity
This song expresses everything I think is important to my music: simplicity. To allow melody to be naked and fragile, one that can’t be wrapped or covered, is a very difficult thing. It requires more courage and strength to achieve the simple than the complex, as you painfully have to submit to the powers of nature, and open up. Simplicity was written at the time of my daughter’s departure to study abroad for one year. There are a lot of emotional undertones to this piece, which we certainly laid bare through the starkness of the melody. Performing Simplicity is very special to both Fionnuala and I, as it reflect the strong elements that have helped create Secret Garden.
On this day March 19th we celebrate #WorldSleepDay – a global call to action about the importance of sound sleep habits.
We are thrilled to participate in a very special collection of peaceful music with a new piano version of Sleepsong.
We wish you all a peaceful weekend 🌙
It's a beautiful world.
I think it's a person's mind.
World Music Love
I have just listenened to Rolf‘s piano-only version of Sleepsong several times. Really beautiful❣️ Any plans to make the sheet music available?
Lindo demais! A alma voa …
Very nice .Rolf is a genius.
With the year that has gone by there is a huge and necessary interest in mental health and well-being. On March 19th we celebrate World Sleep Day – an international awareness event about the importance of healthy sleep. We are delighted to participate in a special record release this day which is a compilation of many artists providing a peaceful soundtrack that will help us drift off to dreamland. We felt our song “Sleepsong” was the perfect fit for this project and Rolf has recorded a brand new piano version. Can’t wait to share it with you!
Here is a little greeting from Rolf himself where he tells us more about this very special song. Enjoy!
Your Music is a Great Lighthouse for Everyone. A lot of many yours peaces shine about Love, Peace for all the World. We feel Emotions, Dreaming anche Hope for a better Life. <3
Much love sound this like youtu.be/pA0B46oD_3Y
Hello! I would love to submit a song to this project! So you know where can i send it? Thank you!😘
My favourite song for all time 🎵🎶☘💚
Thank you so much, Rolf!
Love to see you #Sir 🎵😊🌻🙏🙏🙏🌸🌺🌼 take Care!
I’ve been hearing sleep song since years..
Much love and adulation to both of u.
Dr jai vora,mumbai,INDIA.
Cantoluna would be also a perfect "sleepsong", i listen to it before i go to sleep…https://youtu.be/8Fv6QUdYXjg
Dear Friends, we have a special project to share with you; a documentary about the making of "Sacred Night". This is the background story of the album, the writing process and the recording. Cathrine, Fionnuala and Rolf share their personal footage from the studio sessions linked with their own words.
You can watch the whole documentary on our YouTube channel: youtu.be/aD3Ni61O55Y
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This in my very favorite CD! I have all of yours, but this one is truly outstanding ! I play it all year round ! ❤️❤️❤️
The magic you always bring us assures that new Christmas music can indeed be written and warmly welcomed into the repertoire. The chemistry the three of you have is of pure heart and is always a blessing. ❤️
Thank you so much for sharing this very special documentary. I love it! Amazing to see how every puzzle piece was put together, especially with the difficult conditions we have had during this covid year with its lock downs and the necessity of keeping distance. Jeg må si at julesangene deres er et av de sterkeste lys som skinner i mørketiden i år! I feel much respect, gratitude and love for what you are doing. Each one of you is gifted with so much talent. I am very happy for you that «Sacred Night» was chosen the most beautiful Christmas album of the year in Norway! Take care, stay healthy and keep on making music for us!
This is my favorite Secret Garden recording. Christmas is over, but I can't stop listening to Sacred Night!
After a long time of waiting, the CD finally arrived home. It's a great job. And it would have been even better if a DVD had been included with the videos of the recordings and the documentary. I would have gladly bought it.
I like your musik, I am working on a filmproject about Th. Kittelsen. Why has he been neglected so much in Norwegian cultur history!?.. I have written a spillefilmmanus about him. He lived a difficult life, and I want to to tell his Story!… When i hear your music, i see Th, Mikkelsen! Can we work together?
Just an absolutely beautiful CD …every song is special & brings tears to my eyes …I just live Secret Garden !
It IS indeed possible to create new Christmas masterpieces when you are as talented as the entire Secret Garden group. Amazing music….always! Love from Denmark…
I'm awestruck by the amount of talent that went into the creation and production of this magnificent CD. It is a joy to listen to and will be played year round in my home. Thank you Secret Garden for this timeless masterpiece.
Beautiful, simply timeless . Thank you x
When is this going to be available in the UK from Amazon?
Nydelig sang 🌸🎵. Nydelig musikk 🌺🎵😀. Rolf, Fionnuala og hele gjengen 💌🎄🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵
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Two days left until Christmas! We hope our new album creates the perfect backdrop to your preparations. With warm greetings from both of us and Cathrine Iversen Official ❤
Listen to "Sacred Night" here: SecretGarden.lnk.to/SacredNight_
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Lovely album ! Thank you for this wonderful music. Cathrine has such a beautiful voice too ! ❤🌲🌠🙏
It certainly is, thank you arrived in time on Christmas Eve. It’s wonderful, simply beautiful. Thank you. ❤️
Amo as músicas de vocês. Venham para o Brasil.
Fikk den i postkassa idag..gleder meg til og høre på den.😊
Beautiful music, always! 🎶 My favorite music group! 🥰
😊 & Healthy
Sacred Night is the perfect Christmas gift thank you; Have a truly wonderful & safe Christmas. The worlds starts again next year.
It’s been sooo great for me that you released this when you did. Been working hard on my new album. You were recording Storyteller at the exact same I was recording Red Sky Prairie. As all things SG are my main influences, having Sacred Night with me now is the extra inspiration I needed ❤️❤️
I have all of their CDs. Thank you for your beautiful music and Catherine is my favorite soloist that sings with you. Just what the doctor ordered during these times of social distancing. God Bless you all & Merry Christmas
I listened to it driving to work – and back home again. Great album
The Album is wonderful !!! 🙏❣️🌟🎄 Merry Christmas! 🤗
Happy Holiday 🎅🤶🎄🎁
It would if I had it but still having no luck with Amazon UK. Maybe next Christmas?
Lovely album 👍
Nydeleg fin cd.God jul. 🌟👍🎅❤
just got mine!
Merry Christmas 🎄
Here’s a video about ‘I Know a Rose Tree’. We first recorded it in 1998 and then revived the recording of this 500year old song for this album. You can enjoy the whole song on our YouTube channel: shorturl.at/dvBU2
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I was listeing Song From A Secret Garden and Adagio. Thanks for theses two songs … thanks for exist.
It was like to be born again. (sorry my english)
This song is also in German. Not sure where it originated, but its name is: "Es ist ein Rose entsprungen." English: "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming." I remember this song very well from when I was in my high school's chorus and Madrigal singers. I sang the Alto part. 😀
Your new christmas album is fabulous. Thank you so much ❤️