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This variation references R.


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He "expressed himself somewhat energetically". This is the shortest of the variations. Richard Penrose Arnold, the son of the poet Matthew Arnold , and an amateur pianist. This variation leads into the next without pause. Isabel Fitton, a viola pupil of Elgar. Elgar explained, "It may be noticed that the opening bar, a phrase made use of throughout the variation, is an 'exercise' for crossing the strings — a difficulty for beginners; on this is built a pensive and, for a moment, romantic movement.

Arthur Troyte Griffith, a Malvern architect and one of Elgar's firmest friends. The variation, with a time signature of 1 1 , good-naturedly mimics his enthusiastic incompetence on the piano. It may also refer to an occasion when Griffith and Elgar were out walking and got caught in a thunderstorm.

The pair took refuge in the house of Winifred and Florence Norbury Sherridge, Leigh Sinton, near Malvern , to which the next variation refers. Winifred Norbury, one of the secretaries of the Worcester Philharmonic Society. The gracious personalities of the ladies are sedately shown. Augustus J. He was a close friend of Elgar's, giving him useful advice but also severe criticism, something Elgar greatly appreciated.

Elgar later related how Jaeger had encouraged him as an artist and had stimulated him to continue composing despite setbacks. In Elgar told Dora Penny "Dorabella" that this variation is not really a portrait, but "the story of something that happened". He referred to Ludwig van Beethoven , who had a lot of worries, but wrote more and more beautiful music.

Elgar disclosed to Dora that the opening bars of "Nimrod" were made to suggest that theme. Only a hint, not a quotation. This variation has become popular in its own right and is sometimes used at British funerals, memorial services, and other solemn occasions. A version was also played during the Hong Kong handover ceremony in and at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

An adaptation of the piece appears at the ending of the film Dunkirk as part of the score. Dora Penny, a friend whose stutter is gently parodied by the woodwinds.

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Dora, later Mrs. She was the recipient of another of Elgar's enigmas, the so-called Dorabella Cipher. This variation features a melody for solo viola. George Robertson Sinclair , the energetic organist of Hereford Cathedral. In the words of Elgar: "The variation, however, has nothing to do with organs or cathedrals, or, except remotely, with G. The first few bars were suggested by his great bulldog, Dan a well-known character falling down the steep bank into the River Wye bar 1 ; his paddling upstream to find a landing place bars 2 and 3 ; and his rejoicing bark on landing second half of bar 5.

I did; here it is. Basil George Nevinson, an accomplished amateur cellist who played chamber music with Elgar. The variation is introduced and concluded by a solo cello. The drums suggest the distant throb of the engines of a liner, over which the clarinet quotes a phrase from Mendelssohn's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage. Elgar may have withheld Lady Mary's initials because of superstition surrounding the number 13, [15] or he may have felt uneasy about publicly associating the name of a prominent local figure with music that had taken on a powerful emotional intensity.

Elgar himself, nicknamed Edu by his wife, from the German Eduard. The themes from two variations are echoed: "Nimrod" and "C. Elgar called these references "entirely fitting to the intention of the piece". The original version of this variation is nearly bars shorter than the one now usually played.

Elgar- Enigma Variations (Cambridge Music Handbooks)

In July , one month after the original version was finished Jaeger urged Elgar to make the variation a little longer. After some cajoling Elgar agreed, and also added an organ part. The new version was played for the first time at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival , with Elgar himself conducting, on 13 September The word "Enigma", serving as a title for the theme of the Variations , was added to the score at a late stage, after the manuscript had been delivered to the publisher.

Despite a series of hints provided by Elgar, the precise nature of the implied puzzle remains unknown. Confirmation that Enigma is the name of the theme is provided by Elgar's programme note " Enigma, for so the theme is called" [1] and in a letter to Jaeger dated 30 June he associates this name specifically with what he calls the "principal motive" — the G minor theme heard in the work's opening bars, which perhaps significantly is terminated by a double bar. Elgar's first public pronouncement on the Enigma appeared in Charles A.

Barry's programme note for the first performance of the Variations :. The Enigma I will not explain — its "dark saying" must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the connexion between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme "goes", but is not played. So the principal Theme never appears, even as in some late dramas — eg Maeterlinck 's L'Intruse and Les sept Princesses — the chief character is never on the stage. Far from clarifying matters, this utterance seems to envelop the Enigma in further mysteries.

The phrase "dark saying" can be read straightforwardly as an archaic synonym for enigma but might equally plausibly be interpreted as a cryptic clue, while the word "further" seems to suggest that the "larger theme" is distinct from the Enigma, forming a separate component of the puzzle. Elgar provided another clue in an interview he gave in October to the editor of the Musical Times , F. Edwards, who reported:. Mr Elgar tells us that the heading Enigma is justified by the fact that it is possible to add another phrase, which is quite familiar, above the original theme that he has written.

What that theme is no one knows except the composer. Thereby hangs the Enigma. Five years later, Robert Buckley stated in his biography of Elgar written with the composer's close cooperation : [27]. The theme is a counterpoint on some well-known melody which is never heard. Attempted solutions to the Enigma commonly propose a well-known melody which is claimed to be either a counterpoint to Elgar's theme or in some other way linked to it. Musical solutions of this sort are supported by Dora Penny and Carice Elgar's testimony that the solution was generally understood to involve a tune, [29] and by the evidence from an anecdote describing how Elgar encoded the solution in a numbered sequence of piano keys.

The interpretation placed on the "larger theme" forms the basis of the grouping of solutions in the summary that follows. Julian Rushton has suggested that any solution should satisfy five criteria: a "dark saying" must be involved; the theme "is not played"; the theme should be "well known" as Elgar stated multiple times ; it should explain Elgar's remark that Dora Penny should have been, "of all people", the one to solve the Enigma; [29] and fifthly, some musical observations in the notes Elgar provided to accompany the pianola roll edition may be part of the solution.

Furthermore, the solution if it exists "must be multivalent, must deal with musical as well as cryptographic issues, must produce workable counterpoint within Elgar's stylistic range, and must at the same time seem obvious and not just to its begetter ". Elgar accepted none of the solutions proposed in his lifetime, and took the secret with him to the grave. The prospect of gaining new insights into Elgar's character and composition methods, and perhaps revealing new music, continues to motivate the search for a definitive solution. But Norman Del Mar expressed the view that "there would be considerable loss if the solution were to be found, much of the work's attraction lying in the impenetrability of the riddle itself", and that interest in the work would not be as strong had the Enigma been solved during Elgar's lifetime.

Solutions in this category suggest a well-known tune which in the proponent's view forms a counterpoint to the theme of the Variations.


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A few more solutions of this type have been published in recent years. In the following three examples the counterpoints involve complete renditions of both the Enigma theme and the proposed "larger theme", and the associated texts have obvious "dark" connotations. Elgar meaningfully composed this short "Elgar theme" as a countermelody to the beginning of the hidden "principal Theme" of the piece, i.

When the two themes are combined each note of the first part of the Beethoven theme is followed by the same note in the Elgar theme. So musically Elgar "follows" Beethoven, as Jaeger told him to do see above, Var. IX and, by doing so, in the vigorous, optimistic Finale the artist triumphs over his sadness and loneliness, expressed in the minor melody from the beginning. The whole piece is based on this "Elgar theme", in which the Beethoven theme is hidden and so the latter "goes through and over the whole set, but is not played". IX she could not solve the enigma because she did not see the connection between this and the enigma.

Elgar had expected she would: "I'm surprised. I thought that you of all people would guess it. If Robert Buckley 's statement about the theme being "a counterpoint to some well-known melody" which is endorsed by what Elgar himself disclosed to F. Edwards in is disregarded or discounted the field opens up to admit other kinds of connection with well-known themes.

On 24 May Elgar conducted a performance of the Variations at a Memorial Concert in aid of the family survivors of musicians who had been lost in the Titanic disaster. Frederick Ashton 's ballet Enigma Variations My Friends Pictured Within is choreographed to Elgar's score with the exception of the finale, which uses Elgar's original shorter ending see above , transcribed from the manuscript by John Lanchbery.

The ballet, which depicts the friends and Elgar as he awaits Richter's decision about conducting the premiere, received its first performance on 25 October at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. The acclaimed television play Penda's Fen includes a scene where the young protagonist has a vision of an aged Elgar who whispers to him the "solution" to the Enigma, occasioning astonishment on the face of the recipient.

Elgar suggested that in case the Variations were to be a ballet the Enigma would have to be represented by "a veiled dancer". Critics were at first irritated by the layer of mystification, but most praised the substance, structure, and orchestration of the work. Elgar later revised the final variation, adding 96 new bars and an organ part.

The new version, the one usually played today, was first heard at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival on 13 September , with Elgar conducting. The theme is followed by 14 variations. The variations spring from the theme's melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements, and the extended fourteenth variation forms a grand finale. Elgar dedicated the piece to "my friends pictured within" and in the score each variation is prefaced the initials, name or nickname of the friend depicted. As was common with painted portraits of the time, Elgar's musical portraits depict their subjects at two levels.

Each movement conveys a general impression of its subject's personality. In addition, many of them contain a musical reference to a specific characteristic or event, such as a laugh, a habit of speech or a memorable conversation. The sections of the work are as follows. The unusual melodic contours of the G minor opening theme convey a sense of searching introspection:. A switch to the major key introduces a flowing motif which briefly lightens the mood before the first theme returns, now accompanied by a sustained bass line and emotionally charged counterpoints.

In a programme note for a performance of his setting of Arthur O'Shaughnessy 's ode The Music Makers , Elgar wrote of this theme which he quoted in the later work , "it expressed when written in my sense of the loneliness of the artist as described in the first six lines of the Ode, and to me, it still embodies that sense. Elgar's personal identification with the theme is evidenced by his use of its opening phrase which matches the rhythm and inflection of his name as a signature in letters to friends.

Caroline Alice Elgar , Elgar's wife. The variation repeats a four-note melodic fragment which Elgar reportedly whistled when arriving home to his wife. After Alice's death, Elgar wrote, "The variation is really a prolongation of the theme with what I wished to be romantic and delicate additions; those who knew C. In these notes Elgar's words are quoted from his posthumous publication My Friends Pictured Within which draws on the notes he provided for the Aeolian Company's pianola rolls edition of the Variations.

Hew David Steuart-Powell. Elgar wrote, "Hew David Steuart-Powell was a well-known amateur pianist and a great player of chamber music. He was associated with B. His characteristic diatonic run over the keys before beginning to play is here humorously travestied in the semiquaver passages; these should suggest a Toccata , but chromatic beyond H. Richard Baxter Townshend, Oxford don and author of the Tenderfoot series of books; brother-in-law of the W. This variation references R. He "expressed himself somewhat energetically". This is the shortest of the variations.

Richard Penrose Arnold, the son of the poet Matthew Arnold , and an amateur pianist. This variation leads into the next without pause. Isabel Fitton, a viola pupil of Elgar. Elgar explained, "It may be noticed that the opening bar, a phrase made use of throughout the variation, is an 'exercise' for crossing the strings — a difficulty for beginners; on this is built a pensive and, for a moment, romantic movement. Arthur Troyte Griffith, a Malvern architect and one of Elgar's firmest friends. The variation, with a time signature of 1 1 , good-naturedly mimics his enthusiastic incompetence on the piano.

It may also refer to an occasion when Griffith and Elgar were out walking and got caught in a thunderstorm. The pair took refuge in the house of Winifred and Florence Norbury Sherridge, Leigh Sinton, near Malvern , to which the next variation refers. Winifred Norbury, one of the secretaries of the Worcester Philharmonic Society. The gracious personalities of the ladies are sedately shown. Augustus J. He was a close friend of Elgar's, giving him useful advice but also severe criticism, something Elgar greatly appreciated.

Elgar later related how Jaeger had encouraged him as an artist and had stimulated him to continue composing despite setbacks. In Elgar told Dora Penny "Dorabella" that this variation is not really a portrait, but "the story of something that happened". He referred to Ludwig van Beethoven , who had a lot of worries, but wrote more and more beautiful music.

Elgar disclosed to Dora that the opening bars of "Nimrod" were made to suggest that theme. Only a hint, not a quotation. This variation has become popular in its own right and is sometimes used at British funerals, memorial services, and other solemn occasions.

Elgar - Enigma Variations, Op 36 - Temirkanov

A version was also played during the Hong Kong handover ceremony in and at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games. An adaptation of the piece appears at the ending of the film Dunkirk as part of the score. Dora Penny, a friend whose stutter is gently parodied by the woodwinds. Dora, later Mrs. She was the recipient of another of Elgar's enigmas, the so-called Dorabella Cipher. This variation features a melody for solo viola. George Robertson Sinclair , the energetic organist of Hereford Cathedral.

In the words of Elgar: "The variation, however, has nothing to do with organs or cathedrals, or, except remotely, with G. The first few bars were suggested by his great bulldog, Dan a well-known character falling down the steep bank into the River Wye bar 1 ; his paddling upstream to find a landing place bars 2 and 3 ; and his rejoicing bark on landing second half of bar 5. I did; here it is. Basil George Nevinson, an accomplished amateur cellist who played chamber music with Elgar. The variation is introduced and concluded by a solo cello.

The drums suggest the distant throb of the engines of a liner, over which the clarinet quotes a phrase from Mendelssohn's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage.

PHYSICAL STORE

Elgar may have withheld Lady Mary's initials because of superstition surrounding the number 13, [15] or he may have felt uneasy about publicly associating the name of a prominent local figure with music that had taken on a powerful emotional intensity. Elgar himself, nicknamed Edu by his wife, from the German Eduard. The themes from two variations are echoed: "Nimrod" and "C.

Elgar called these references "entirely fitting to the intention of the piece". The original version of this variation is nearly bars shorter than the one now usually played. In July , one month after the original version was finished Jaeger urged Elgar to make the variation a little longer.

After some cajoling Elgar agreed, and also added an organ part. The new version was played for the first time at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival , with Elgar himself conducting, on 13 September The word "Enigma", serving as a title for the theme of the Variations , was added to the score at a late stage, after the manuscript had been delivered to the publisher. Despite a series of hints provided by Elgar, the precise nature of the implied puzzle remains unknown. Confirmation that Enigma is the name of the theme is provided by Elgar's programme note " Enigma, for so the theme is called" [1] and in a letter to Jaeger dated 30 June he associates this name specifically with what he calls the "principal motive" — the G minor theme heard in the work's opening bars, which perhaps significantly is terminated by a double bar.

Elgar's first public pronouncement on the Enigma appeared in Charles A. Barry's programme note for the first performance of the Variations :. The Enigma I will not explain — its "dark saying" must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the connexion between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme "goes", but is not played. So the principal Theme never appears, even as in some late dramas — eg Maeterlinck 's L'Intruse and Les sept Princesses — the chief character is never on the stage.

Far from clarifying matters, this utterance seems to envelop the Enigma in further mysteries. The phrase "dark saying" can be read straightforwardly as an archaic synonym for enigma but might equally plausibly be interpreted as a cryptic clue, while the word "further" seems to suggest that the "larger theme" is distinct from the Enigma, forming a separate component of the puzzle. Elgar provided another clue in an interview he gave in October to the editor of the Musical Times , F. Edwards, who reported:.

Mr Elgar tells us that the heading Enigma is justified by the fact that it is possible to add another phrase, which is quite familiar, above the original theme that he has written. What that theme is no one knows except the composer. Thereby hangs the Enigma. Five years later, Robert Buckley stated in his biography of Elgar written with the composer's close cooperation : [27]. The theme is a counterpoint on some well-known melody which is never heard.

Books by Edward William Elgar

Attempted solutions to the Enigma commonly propose a well-known melody which is claimed to be either a counterpoint to Elgar's theme or in some other way linked to it. Musical solutions of this sort are supported by Dora Penny and Carice Elgar's testimony that the solution was generally understood to involve a tune, [29] and by the evidence from an anecdote describing how Elgar encoded the solution in a numbered sequence of piano keys.

The interpretation placed on the "larger theme" forms the basis of the grouping of solutions in the summary that follows.