“Moonfall Quartet” from The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Rupert Holmes
I can never understand the fact that the same guy that wrote “The Pina Colada Song” also wrote the music for a great musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Crazy.
“Moonfall Quartet” is a reprise of an earlier song sung by the show’s ingénue, Rosa Bud. It is sung mainly by Rosa and Helena Landless, her best friend. In our production the quartet was sung by Rosa (Linden), Helena (me), Princess Puffer (Trisha), and the narrator (Lindsey). I have a great story about how we convinced the director to let the four of us sing the song, but I won’t go into that.
What’s so amazing about the song is how Holmes intertwines the lyrics between Rosa and Helena’s parts. For instance ...
Rosa: “I fear the moonfall, I feel the night skies, bright eyes will burn me, blind me.
Helena: "Moon of fallen souls, I fear the night disguises you. Night arises, you will burn then blindingly you'll fade."
So many of the words / parts of words coincide, yet the meanings of each character's line of text is completely different. Rosa sings about how she is afraid of Jasper taking advantage of her, while Helena sings of her loneliness and alienation as a foreigner. Holmes remarkably makes each character's line of text match up in rhythm, so it sounds like the characters are singing the same words.
After this duet section, all four singers join together for a really freaky duet. It's very tonally unstable, and was difficult to sing (we could never find Do until the end).