Secret Garden's formula is plain to hear. They have the lush string orchestrations of Yanni, the layered vocals of Clannadand Enya, and the stage-show Celtica of River dance. In the past these elements have weighed down the music of Irish violinist Fionuala Sherry and Norwegian keyboardist Rolf Lovland with a sweetness that would make tiramisu taste like poi. On Dawn of a New Century, they finally dance closer to the line that divides schlock from serenity, beauty from the banal. Capercailliesinger Karen Matheson gives a haunting vocal performance on "Prayer," surrounded by Clannad-like harmonies. "Children of the River" is a cinematic expanse with Asian overtones, while "Lore of the Loom" swoops through orchestral landscapes that could be Ireland or Norway. But there's also the hokey faux-Baroque of "Divertimento" and the title piece, which could stand in for "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." -John Diliberto
Dawn of a New Century (released April 1999) is the third album by the Irish-Norwegian duo Secret Garden.