Storyteller

TRACK LISTING AND NOTES
(Notes by Rolf Lovland)

Fionnuala Sherry on violin and Rolf Lovland on piano/keyboards

All music and lyrics by Rolf Lovland


  • The Pilot - "Parallel to this production I've also written music to a new musical.  It feels natural to include some of those melodies in this album - as instrumental versions.  The Pilot is the title of this piece and also the title of the musical.  Finding peace of mind through the storm and becoming one with nature describes the character of this song in the epic story by Henrik Ibsen."
  • Beyond the Blue - "In Norway there is an old expression often found in traditional fairytales 'bakom alle blåner'.  It's untranslatable from Norwegian but 'beyond the blue' is close enough as far as our imagination is able to reach - beyond the mountains of the blue horizon"
  • Beautiful - "It's a feeling we're all familiar with when we lose someone close to us or are apart from someone we love; we can still feel their presence.  This song features Brian Kennedy, who has worked with us since 2001 when he recorded the original version of You Raise Me Up."
  • Flow - "In our up-tempo pieces we've often let Norwegian and Irish influences interact with one another.  It's a natural blend for us and in many ways defines what Secret Garden is about.  In Flow we've unleashed the forces of traditional players from each of our two countries."
  • Song to a Child - "In the musical The Pilot this melody is sung by the father to his newborn child.  He sings about his love and promises to protect his baby through the many challenges and dangers ahead - with a love that is stronger then life itself."
  • Nostalgia - "We named this tune Nostalgia because it's like a reminiscent from the past - a distant memory from a different time"
  • Open Doors - "What is more welcoming than an open door?  It's a symbol of openheartedness and inclusion.  We invited all our Irish and Norwegian players to come together in this waltzy tune."
  • Sunshine - "I wanted to tailor this new song to Cathrine Iversen's voice.  She's been a regular member of our touring group since 2010, but this is her very first original recording.  On a rainy day...out of nowhere, someone with a coat will come your way."
  • One More Chance - "One of the songs from the musical The Pilot.  At the turning point in life, when everything falls to pieces, life unexpectedly presents itself with new hope and new opportunities."
  • Fantasia - "We've tried to let the spirits flow freely here in a world of fantasy.  Musical themes, rhythms and moods are experienced as illogical and randomly as in a dream."
  • The Voyage - "A song from the musical The Pilot, where famine forces a young man to cross the ocean in an open boat to provide food for his wife and child - a treacherous four-day voyage from Norway to Denmark.  This is a real story from Norway in the early 19th century and unfortunately it's still true in many places around the world."
  • Strength - "We all need a friend - someone who is there when we're falling.  Espen Grjotheim has been a regular member of our ensemble since 2007 when he first recorded My Land for our Inside I'm Singing album.  We also invited Tracey Campbell along with the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir to create a spiritual finale to this song.
  • End of a Journey - "I wrote this tune in my dressing romm just before the last concert of a tour in China in 2017, hence the title End of a Journey.  It was meant as a simple work title, but during the recording process we realized that there is more to the story."

MY REVIEW AND COMMENTS

My initial reaction upon hearing this new album from Secret Garden was again a resounding WOW!!

Storyteller by Secret Garden is comprised of entirely new material, with ten of the thirteen tracks being instrumental.  This album sees a return to the format of most of their past releases after an album of mostly previously released material scored for violin and piano, a live album, and a compilation album.  Rolf Lovland wrote and arranged all of the pieces, and also penned the lyrics for the three vocal selections.  Of particular note on this recording is the inclusion of four pieces that Rolf Lovland wrote as part of a new musical he scored called "The Pilot", which he arranged as instrumentals for this new album.  This is music is as beautiful as you will ever experience!

Fionnuala Sherry and Rolf Lovland sound as incredible as ever, performing with unparalleled talent, expression and passion, which is what we have come to expect from them.  The band members of Secret Garden are once again top-notch, very capably complementing the soloists with their stellar musicianship and ardent passion for the music.  Plus the performance of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Rolf Lovland is breathtaking.  And for the three vocal selections included you could not ask for more capable singers than the heartfelt tenor Brian Kennedy, the beautiful soprano Cathrine Iversen, and the emotive Espen Grjotheim.

This heartwarming ensemble has once again created an amazing treasure trove of musical delights comprised of beautiful melodies that evoke a kaleidoscope of images and emotions.  It is difficult to pick a favourite among these thirteen gems, but of particular note for me personally are Beyond the Blue, Open Doors, One More Chance, Nostalgia and End of a Journey.  This album contains both slow, melancholic works that will soothe your soul, and faster upbeat tunes, all of them coloured by the Norwegian and Irish backgrounds of the two main performers.

All in all a superb album from this ensemble that has been going strong for almost twenty five years!  If this is the first Secret Garden album you experience, you will surely end up wanting to have all of the others too.  But if you are a diehard Secret Garden fan like I am then this is another stunning addition to your collection.

Bravo Secret Garden for creating yet another musical masterpiece!!




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