Music Review: “Just the Two of Us,” Secret Garden

After nearly 20 years of composing and performing, the Norwegian-Irish New Age group Secret Garden is going back to the basics, as it were. Secret Garden’s latest album is titled Just the Two of Us, and features Rolf Løvland on the piano and Fionnuala Sherry on the violin.

Even though Rolf and Fionnuala have performed with other musicians, singers, and orchestras for all of their other albums, a duo of piano and violin was always at the heart of their music. For their ninth album, they created a simpler, more intimate experience for their listeners.

Every melody on this album is a delicate resculpting of tunes that would be familiar to long-time Secret Garden fans: “Awakening,” “Song from a Secret Garden,” and “Papillon” are some of my favorites on this album. Two new pieces are featured for the first time here: “En Passant” and the title track “Just the Two of Us.”

There aren’t any of Secret Garden’s upbeat Celtic jigs or songs with full choirs on this album. This easily could have been called “Ode to Simplicity,” as one of the tracks on the album suggests. I feel that Rolf and Fionnuala achieved what they set out to do – create new life while revisiting the past.

If you’re looking for a soothing instrumental album, full of variety but without any jarring musical surprises to interrupt relaxation or enjoyment, then I would highly recommend Just the Two of Us.

Secret Garden’s website

“Song from a Secret Garden”

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