Thursday, April 21, 2005

"Quartet" from the Secret Garden

This powerful piece sung between Archibald and Neville and Lily and Rose, melding the past and present together. Neville urges Archibald to leave the house, because seeing Mary and her uncanny resemblance to his deceased wife is driving him mad. Neville is using this for selfish means, to take control of the mansion and the lands. You see, Neville was also in love with Lily, but she chose the crippled Archibald over him. On the other hand, Rose is trying to reason with Lily, to convince her that she shouldn't marry the hunchbacked Archibald. Lily sees through his physical deformity to the pure heart that lies underneath. These two spearate settings, in the past and present, meld together into a tragic quartet, with Lily and Archibald professing their love for each other, while Rose and Neville convince them how foolish this is. The accompaniment begins slowly, with strings accompanying Archibald, then bass drum comes in to accent entrances. When Neville comes in, the low strings and low brass come in, adding emphasis, but a darker overall tone. We go back to light accompaniment as the women enter, but everything melds together as all four voice come in together. Lily and Archibald sing to each other across the divide of time, with Neville and Rose trying to pull them back to reality. Rose and Neville (the mezzo and baritone) use their darker tones to act as the creeping darkness that is consuming Archibald. Lily and Archibald's sweet tones have a beautiful duet for a small time, but we have a key change and the quartet forms again, swallowing up this lovely moment. At the end, Neville convinces Archibald to leave the manor for a time, putting Neville in charge. I love the mood formed by juxtaposing the two duets from two different times. I know didn't do much talking about musical elements, but the dramatic elements of the song as well as the timbre really are what make this piece special.

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