Just the Two of Us is a collection of songs where Rolf Løvland and Fionnuala Sherry perform Secret Garden classics without any additional backing. The gentle arrangement makes the songs sound even more beautiful and serene. I didn’t know that such perfection was possible, but it really is.
It is the combination of great melodies, amazing artists and an ethereal atmosphere that have made Secret Garden into a world class New Age music band. The studio chemistry between Rolf and Sherry can be felt on all Secret Garden albums, but it has never been as bare and direct as on Just the Two of Us. Indeed, this is the way the songs originally were made – with nothing but the piano and the violin – before the layers of other instruments were added.
Refined and redefined
Are the piano and violin only versions better than the originals, with synths and full arrangement? That’s hard to say. These versions highlight the neoclassical aspects of Secret Garden. It also it a statement that this is a band that tours a lot, and is used to do their material live. In any case, Just the Two of Us is a very refined and honest release. To use a wine metaphor; it has the structure and depth of a burgundy wine – which also happens to be the color of the album cover.
For new listeners though it is a good idea to check out the original versions first. Not necessarily because they are better, but they have more character, or colors if you will. Piano and violin music to me have more the colors of autumn.
Simply put, Just the Two of Us is a must-have for any Secret Garden fan.
Note that the album has not yet been released in the US. It can be bought as an import via Amazon.