White Stones

"Once upon a time, two children overheard their parents plan to abandon them in a forest, as they could not afford to feed them. But the children cleverly gathered small white stones, and on their long journey into the forest, they secretly dropped them onto the ground.   At nightfall, left alone, the moon illuminated the white stones, and the reflection became their guiding light. So the fairytale about Hansel and Gretel goes.
Each song on the album can be compared to a white stone. Listen and let them lead you into your own secret garden."


TRACK LISTING AND NOTES
(Notes by Rolf Lovland)

Fionnuala Sherry on violin and Rolf Lovland on piano/keyboards

  • Steps - "A fantasy of music and rhythm in 5/4 time. The Celtic melody inviting the Latin rhythm for a dance. The Irish whistle and the Spanish guitar blend the two elements into a sound of mystery and excitement."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Davy Spillane on low whistle, Derek Bell on tiompan, and Des Moore on guitar.
  • Poéme - "A song without words - an unspoken story. We listen with our ears - we understrand with our hearts."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Rolf Lovland on piano, and Geir Tore Larsen on cello.
  • Hymn To Hope - "A song to remind us that there is always hope, even in despair and sorrow. Inspired by the melancholy of the traditional Irish Air, expressed by the Uilleann Pipes."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Rolf Lovland on piano, and Davy Spillane on uilleann pipes.
  • Moving - "Hidden rituals in a dark forest. Mysteries that can only be felt, never seen. A dance of silhouettes and shadows to a never ending beat."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Simon Emes on oboe, Davy Spillane on low whistle, and Noel Eccles on percussion.
  • First Day of Spring - "Written on the first day of February, the day the Irish refer to as the first day of spring. The atmosphere of the music relates to the magic of the season, and the dawn of new life."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Derek Bell on tiompan, Martin O'Connor on accordion, Delia Lynch on viola, and Tommy Kane on cello.
  • Passacaglia - "Passacaglia is a baroque variation form. In this piece, the melody develops into a six part polyphonic arrangement through the nine sections of the song. Passacaglia was written in memory of my father."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Simon Emes on oboe, and John Leonard on bassoon.
  • Reflection - "An impression of the evening as it transcends into night. The simplicity of a Lullaby, a resting Berceuse as you drift into the land of dreams."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin and Rolf Lovland on piano.
  • Windancer - "A melody based on the Dorian scale, where a four-rhythm restlessly plays against a counter beat in three. The twists and turns of the tune flow along as a feather carried by unpredictable winds."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Simon Emes on oboe, John Feeley on Spanish guitar, and Rolf Kristensen on guitar and zither.
  • Appassionata - "Music can conjure up images of dramatic and sentimental scenes for our inner eye. A melody accompanying the drama of a film never seen."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin and John Feeley on classical guitar.
  • Escape - "A Rhapsody of Norwegian melody accentuated by an eastern European rhythm. The circus-like arrangement of the soprano saxes and the orchestra creates a Gypsy feel."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Simon Emes on oboe, and Kenneth Edge on soprano sax.
  • Sanctuary - "A sanctuary can be a sacred place for meditation and quiet contemplation. In this song it relates to the secret garden inside us. A place to seek refuge - a spiritual inner room where we can light candles for our own private reasons."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin and Simon Emes on oboe.
  • Celebration - "The beat of a distant drum invites you to a celebration. A feast on a midsummer's night, the brightest night of the year. A Norwegian soundscape coloured by the Hardanger fiddle and the traditional whistle."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin, Simon Emes on oboe, Hans Fredrik Jackobsen on recorder and whistle, and Annbjorg Lien on hardanger fiddle.
  • Home - "Edvard Grieg collected and cultivated Norwegian folk songs, and gave this traditional material a classical format. This music is past my own roots. I feel fortunate to be able to tap into it, and carry it with me in my own way."
    Features Rolf Lovland on solo piano.
  • Illumination - "Nocturne was the center piece of our first album, Songs From a Secret Garden. It opened doors to the sentiments and emotions of the night - dark and mythical. Follow the white stones as they illuminate the path out of the darkness - into your own secret garden."
    Features Fionnuala Sherry on violin and Simon Emes on oboe.

MY REVIEW AND COMMENTS

Another absolutely stunning album from this amazing ensemble! This is a beautiful mix of musical tapestries, from slow lyrical pieces as serene as an early morning lake, to upbeat dance-like rhythms that make you want to celebrate. With this album you are once again whisked away on a magical, mystical journey to your own secret garden, where you can reside and contemplate. The musicianship is outstanding as always, from the emotive violin and piano playing of Fionnuala Sherry and Rolf Lovland respectively, to the incredible playing of such artists as Simon Emes on oboe and Davy Spillane on uilleann pipes and whistles. Rolf Lovland is at his compositional best here once again, with some absolutely gorgeous melodies. For myself, Poéme, Hymn to Hope, and Appassionata are the standouts, but all of this material is outstanding! As was the case in their initial release, these artists once again put thier whole heart and soul into performing these masterpieces, so they are full of the emotion and passion we have come to expect! No sophomore jinx here. Another must have for all lovers of heartfelt music! Way to go Secret Garden!


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