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Once In A Red Moon

4.7 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Once In A Red Moon
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Audio CD, March 26, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

A mature and at times moving work, Once in a Red Moon fortifies Secret Garden's stature as a marquee New Age act. The duo of Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry and pianist-composer Rolf Lovland here refine their specialty of making classical/contemporary/Celtic mini-epics in small orchestral and choral settings. Moreover, each piece elicits reflection, celebration, or atonement with the divine. Red Moon's mood of melancholy is stronger than usual--"Invitation" and "Fairytale" are the disc's only propulsive tracks--though there's an undercurrent of lamentation and reverence. Highlights include the gospel-fueled, Josh Groban-like "You Raise Me Up," sung by Brian Kennedy (Riverdance) and fittingly conducted by Steven Mercurio (musical director for Andrea Bocelli). And a riveting, slow-building plea for peace, "Elegie," features the voices of Anuna and a forceful, concluding piano chord--a composite of 66 C chords submitted by fans worldwide in response to an online invitation from the group. --Terry Wood
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 26, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B000060O30
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,634 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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While there is a strong taste of melancholy in this set, listening to it is indeed entering a beautiful garden, hidden from the rest of the world.
"Awakening" is an inviting introduction to the set, with an enchanting Norwegian flavor. "You Raise Me Up" is more celtic, with unaccompanied violin and Uilleann pipes, very spiritually envigorating. "Silent Wings" gives us a dialogue between reed instruments and the violin. A natural vocal beauty carries "Greenwaves." "Invitation" is an energetic jig which breaks the somber mood and is liable to set your feet to dancing.
With the classically inspired "Duo", we have a conversation of sorts between violin and cello. "Belonging" is a pastoral
melody played by Irish violin and Nordic keyharp. Karen Matheson's vocal and Anuna's choral backing give a sing along quality to "Gates of Dawn". Violin and piano lead us into the intimacy of "The Promise". "Fairytale" has it's own energy, a bit of a dance feeling, replete with mythical overtones. The title song is performed by clarinet, accompanied by Spanish Guitar, starts peacefully but grows truly passionate with Mediteranean color. And finally is Elegie, to be listened to in a state of relaxaton so that you can be carried away by the choral sound of Anuna into a state of bliss.
This CD is for the emotionally sensitive, the spiritually attuned. Otherwise, the beauty here will fall on deaf ears. I first discovered Secret Garden at the suggestion of those who knew of my love for Enya's music, and that love hasn't diminished one whit, but Secret Garden has found their place in my musical intelligence, enhancing my perception which is heightened by soulful music.
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One of the major things that Rolf Lovland and Fionnuala Sherry, Secret Garden's principle talent, have to their credit, they do not seem to be afraid to tamper with their tried formula for success and Once in a Red Moon may be the group's greatest example of this. The two, in many instances on this album, have taken themselves out of the forefront. For example, on previous releases the Sherry's violin and Loveland would be at the front of every track. This is no longer the case. The orchestra that was often used on previous albums has been taken out of the background leading to a much smoother and polished sound.
First, let me state that I never thought that there was anything wrong with the sound that the group had perfected in the three previous releases, see my reviews of the previous albums...nothing but 5 stars will do. On a first listen, this album really gave me a mixed reaction. What happened to the old sound? After having the album for several months now...got it in Norway...the new is at least on par with what has come before from this group, if not arguably better.
Once in a Red Moon is definitely, as stated in Amazon's review, a lot darker, as was the case with Songs from a Secret Garden. There are a few upbeat songs...Invitation, my personal favorite on the album, and Fairytale. The title track for some reason has a feel of Arabian Nights to it. Gates of Dawn and Greenwaves are both sung by the thankfully returning Karen Matheson are both beautiful songs with an inescapable Celtic flare...GofD is also slightly upbeat. The two songs that are really the most notable though, are You Raise Me Up and Elegie. You Raise Me Up is the best vocal song the group has ever done on any of their albums.
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Format: Audio CD
It is rare that a new age album has any tracks poignant enough to give one goosebumps on the first listen. It is a testament to the quality of "Once In A Red Moon" that it has two. The first is "You Raise Me Up", a haunting yet beautiful tribute to the power of friendship and love. Fionnula's initial solo violin gives way to Brian Kennedy's heartfelt vocals, joined at the emotional peak of the song by the lush harmonies of the London Community Gospel choir and Anuna. The result is as dramatic as it is exquisitely beautiful. The second track is "Gates of Dawn", featuring one of Secret Garden's most talented collaborators, Karen Mattheson. This song has a melody that you won't be able to get out of your head, and the multilayering of Karen's vocals over Anuna's ethereal choral backdrop gives the song an usual depth and resonance.
Many of the other tracks on the album are reminiscent of the style of songs on the earlier album without sounding like a repeat of the same. "Silent Wings" and "Invitation", for example, seem like more evolved versions of songs that might have appeared on White Stones. On "Once In A Red Moon", the group has compiled the best elements of their previous albums and reworked them into an album that is entirely fresh and still as hauntingly gorgeous as ever. If you love new age muisc, your CD collection won't be complete without it.
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Format: Audio CD
The duo of Secret Garden have once again crafted an emotionally charged and incredibly moving recording. They seem to be incapable of making a bad album, in my book. "Once in a Red Moon" is more subdued overall than previous albums; The Amazon.Com reviewer is correct in saying that there is more melancholy present this time around, but that's not a criticism at all. This is music from the heart, and it shows. Highlights are numerous, but "You Raise Me Up" deserves special mention, with it's soaring guest vocals by Brian Kennedy, Tracey Campbell-Nation, and the choir, Anuna. It's a breathtaking, and tear-inducing, moment. And of course, the "Global C" experiment on the final track "Elegie" is an intriguing idea, and one that I wish I'd had enough sense to take part in when I first saw it mentioned on their website. (66 pianos from all over the world,playing at the same moment on the concluding chord of the song.) As usual, Fionnuala's solo violin floats along effortlessly, while Rolf provides his usual array of memorable melodies and excellent musicianship on the piano and keyboards. Highly recommended.(If you are new to Secret Garden, however, I would start with either "White Stones" or their debut, "Songs from a Secret Garden" before getting this one, only because of the aforementioned melancholy running through this CD. It's beautiful, but you might want to hear them on a couple of their more celibratory or uptempo tracks, too, before diving into "Red Moon".)
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