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.
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Posted May 27th, 10:57 am
Get the story behind Dreamcatcher! The whole performance can be found on our YouTube channel 🌙✨ … See MoreSee Less
Fionnuala Sherry – She just finished her last breast cancer treatment on Thursday. She is the most superb violinist but the Irish call it fiddling😊 I’ve “fiddled” many times in my life but somehow it never ends with a beautiful symphony of music. May she continue to represent Ireland and Dublin with her ever lasting
Love this song and often play it to fall asleep to.
A real Ray Of Light <3
Posted May 22nd, 9:10 am
We look back at the iconic tune Nocturne from 1995… 🙌 … See MoreSee Less
Love EVERYTHING from Secret Garden
Eu escolhi esta música para me despertar para o trabalho, sempre às 5h da manhã. Acordo leve, tranquila e de bom humor. Linda voz, harmonia.
This is another of my favorites!
Very beautiful song 💖
Admirable!Then AND Now!
what, secret garden?
Yo los sigo desde hace muchos años , su música es maravillosa y este video espectacular.
El álbum de los 25 años hay que tenerlo
Me encanta esa gente. Son excelentes
I worked on this video doing the makeup for Fionnula and Rolf 💚 I remember it like yesterday as we worked throughout the night with all the beautiful animals 🦉🦊 just wonderful memories💚
I love Nocturne, since the first time I heard it. The song has an indescribable sensitivity. Thank you Secret Garden 🎶🎵🎼🎹🎻💓💗❤
I grew to love your music and songs at 14 years old! I remember buying your 'Songs from a Secret Garden' CD after winning a CD shop coupon from my school's wisdom challenge contest. 20 years on, 'Serenade to Spring is still my favourite soundtrack along with a handful of later productions that have given me inspiration in poetry writing! Thank you so much, Fionnuala and Rolf for leading me through your magical journey from my teens into adulthood! ❤🧡❤🧡❤🧡
Sailing any Norwegian fjord, listening to this song, becomes a unique experience. I did.🙂👍
This is one of my very favorite songs! I love it!
This music simply brings me JOY. Joy to my ears, through my brain, and into my heart.
He is one of my favorite songs
Love this 💕💕
I only get 5 seconds of this video. Then it starts again! 🤔
Yes, the Norwegian version should be added to Spotify and other digital platforms as soon as possible, Secret Garden when will you do it?
Please add this Norwegian version of Nocturne to Spotify!
Posted May 20th, 9:34 am
Here’s a little video about Hymn To Hope. You can enjoy the whole song on our YouTube channel: shorturl.at/dfEW2 … See MoreSee Less
Specially for these sads times 😔
Thanks guys 🎻🎹😉
Love everything the two of you do!!! I am Norwegian and i worked as a tour guide for Italian groups in Scandinavia and i always played your CD"S in the bus. I think each and every Italian went home with one or more of them. My favorite music!!
Thats how i found them. Our tour guide Daniel Ferro in 2005 kept playing their Earthsongs Cd in the bus while we did a tour round eastern USA😃
Balm for the soul.
Love you !
I fell in love with your music today. Thank you from my heart. I have been a singer/songwriter for 48 years. May I sen you a copy of one of my songs as a thank you? Paul Skyland PaulSkyland.com❤️😊
Your music touch my heart you are best violinist ever 🎻🎻❤️
Fabulous Piece 🎻🎹🎶
So beautiful ❤️
Posted May 18th, 6:21 pm
Looking forward to catching up with Mairead, best friends forever!Hi Everyone! Tune in today for Máiréad Mondays! 3pm EST on Facebook Youtube LIVE ! My special guest today is the fabulous Fionnuala Sherry, violinist of Secret Garden & a beautiful performance with Fionnuala & Rolf Lovland for the Eurovision Home Concerts! See you then! 💚🎻💗 … See MoreSee Less
Perfect duo <3
Didn’t get the notice until late my time but watched afterwards and thank you. I didn’t know of you and now I have one more great artist to add to my Irish connections. Something in my dna hears the music of Ireland and I wish to explore it more. Most of my heritage died during the famine but alas I’m here and now have two lovely, strong Irish woman such as myself (although I have no music talent, but a great appreciation). As a professor I am the ying to your lovely yang and both my Collies agree with me 😄
Good day! How cute friend'picture! Happy days to you nice Secret Garden aind hugs from maria'
Perfect friends ❤️❤️❤️
How do we access?
Where can we find you?
Posted May 16th, 8:28 pm
Since it’s a quarter of a century since we won the ESC, we’ve put together a home version of ‘Nocturne’. It’s still a nice memory for us. This was produced for the online event Eurovision Home Concerts. … See MoreSee Less
Absolutely Perfect!! Such a joy to hear Nocturne again and such a treat to see you both ‘up close and personal’ and each note so beautifully played 💐💐 Thank you xx
Thank you so much! It's my favorite song. So happy to hear it.❤🧡💛💚💜💙 from Québec Canada.
Sublime !!! Charming !!!! Thank you Fionnuala 🎻, Thank you Rolf 🎹, Thank you Secret Garden 🎶🎵🎼, for the generosity in giving us this song, which continues to involve our soul and our hearts. 🇧🇷 I'm very happy to hear Nocturne and see how you are doing in Fionnuala, how exciting your smile is. 🌹😘 Stay in peace and take care 🙌🙏💓💗❤💐
Happy Constitution Day, Rolf! Beautiful rendition, Rolf & Fi!
I listen to your beautiful music every day. Nocturne will always be special ❤️
Since you won the ESC we fall asleep to your music every night. Playlist from all your records. It is so soothing and calming to the soul!! 💕💕💕
First time I came across your music was on ESC 25 years ago. You made me dream, travel and believe in magic with this song in particular. You still do. Wrote my first short story to the sound of Nocturne. Fell in love with other songs from your albums but this one will always be the One! ❤ from Portugal.
Love your music! This is one of my favorites. Thank you for playing this again! ♥️ greetings from Sri Lanka (a.k.a ceylon) ! 🇱🇰
Absolutely beautiful! This song got me hooked on Secret Garden forever 💕
OMG this was and always is so deeply moving and emotional and no one could make it sound like that but only you two. I find myself so totally immersed and lost in time and space. You both create magic and I feel so lucky to have found you and your music. Thank you ❤❤ XX
Stunningly beautiful, always send shivers around my body, thank you. ❤️❤️
That was when I discovered Secret Garden and a new era of music opened up to me. Thank you guys! 🎻🎹❤️
Can’t get enough of your wonderful music… thank you so much!!❤️🙏
I love your music! This is one of my favorites! Thank you for sharing from your homes during this time of COVID! 💖
One of my favourites! Thank you so much for sharing this!
Much Love! ♥️
In my opinion, it's an excellent and relaxing performance. Thank you.
I still have a video recording of Nocturne I made on the night you won😊
Congratulations to you and Rolf Fionnuala Sherry🎻Really enjoyed that , it’s as wonderful now as it was 25 years ago. Timeless beautiful music, just like you Fi💗😘
Ohhh very beautiful you are great artist.. Can get your any Cd and photos and autograph!?? Please you lot greetings from Croatia
Always enchanting ! Thank you Rolf & Fionnuala !
So beautiful. Thank you! ❤️ You should have been a part of yesterday’s show Europe Shine a Light. 💞
I love that song! Thank you so much for sharing it! From Vermont USA.
That was the day ye guys opened up a brand new Music Chapter in my life.
Thank You both
the best one ever , i cant help my self stop playing that music ♥️♥️♥️♥️
Thank you again for this beautiful melody. It is heavenly..❤