The Variations Enigma COp 36 , is a symphonic work comprising a topic and fourteen Variation composed by Edward Elgar between 1898 and 99. It is about the one of its most known partitions, from its music and by its enigmas. Elgar dedicated it with " his/her described friends ici" , each variation being a musical portrait of a character of his close entourage.
History of the compositionThe legend wants, that in 1898, after one day tiring of teaching, Elgar plays piano. The topic of a melody then attracts the ear of his wife who asks him to repeat it. Following this wish, the musician starts to improvise variations on this topic, each one of these last being the musical portrait of a close friend, or in the musical style who is closest for him. Elgar makes an orchestration then of it, which gives its Variations Enigma .
The part was created with London on June 19th 1899, under the direction of Hans Richter. Criticisms, initially, were somewhat irritated by the mystifying atmosphere of work but the majority rented the substance, the structuring and the orchestration of the partition, the latter in front of particularly popular.
MusicWork is written for 2 Flûte S (of which a double Piccolo), 2 Hautbois S, 2 Clarinette S in B flat, 2 Basson S, Contrebasson, 4 horn, 3 Trompette S in F, 3 Trombone S, Tuba, Cymbale S, percussion S, Orgue and cords.
StructureWork is made up of a topic followed by 14 variations. These last are based on the melody of the topic like on rhythmic elements, the last being in the form of large final.
Elgar dedicated its work with " my friends pictured within" (" his/her friends Ci-décrits"). On the partition, each variation comprises a nickname or the initial ones having to help with the identification of the portrait. The topic consists of two parts forming two melodies, the first being that which will be prone to the variations.
Variation 1 (the istesso tempo) " C.A.E." : they are initial the woman Elgar (Caroline Alice Elgar). This variations comprises repeated of a short melody of four notes that Elgar was accustomed to whistling when it returned in its residence.
- Variation 2 (Allegro) " H.D.S-P." : they are the initial ones of Hew David Steuart-Powell, a friend pianist, with whom, Elgar and Basil Nevinson (the portrait of variation 12) often played of the chamber music.
- Variation 3 (Allegretto) " R.B.T." : Richard Baxter Townsend was an actor amateur, capable of extreme intonations of his voice, which the music tries to imitate.
- Variation 4 (Allegro di molto) " W.M.B." : William Meath Baker, squire off Hasfield, a particularly energetic friend.
- Variation 5 (Moderato) " R.P.A." : Richard Penrose Arnold, pianist amateur, are the son of the poet Matthew Arnold.
- Variation 6 (Andantino) " Ysobel" : it is about the nickname of Isabel Fitton, a pupil of Elgar, altist, the melody of this variation being played on this instrument.
- Variation 7 (Presto) " Troyte" : Arthur Troyte Griffiths is an architect, pianist amateur and probably not very good, his portrait imitating its a little approximate enthusiasm. *Variation 8 (Allegretto) " W.N." : Winifred Norbury is a friend of Elgar. Its variation ends in a note held with the violin which makes transition with the
- Variation 9 (Adagio) " Nimrod " : Augustus J. Jaeger is the best friend of Elgar' S. This variation describes the " as well; noble" character of this last that one strolls night where two men discussed lengthily the slow movements at Ludwig van Beethoven. The first eight measurements would be inspired by the second movement of the sonata " pathétique". Anecdotiquement, the name " Nimrod" referred with the mythological hunter of the Old Testament, Jaeger being German translation for " chasseur". This variation became particularly popular and is played at the time of certain funerary ceremonies. She is also played London Sunday of the memory (Sunday nearest of November 11th).
- Variation 10 (Intermezzo: Allegretto) " Dorabella" : Dora Penny is a friend of the musician whose laughter is described by wood. It of the family of William Meath Baker, described in the fourth variation, and the beautiful sister of Richard Baxter Townsend, is described in the third variation.
- Variation 11 (Allegro di molto) " G.R.S." : George Robertson Sinclair, is the organist of the cathedral of Hereford. It also describes the bulldog of this last, daN, as well as a walk along the river Wye during which the dog fell to water.
- Variation 12 (Andante) " B.G.N." : Basil G. Nevinson was a Violoncelliste, which later, inspired the Concerto for violoncello of Edward Elgar
- Variation 13 (Romanza
:Moderato) " ***" : This variation does not comprise a code letter being able to help to identify the portraiturée person. She however comprises a quotation of the calm opening sea and happy voyage of Felix Mendelssohn. It could be a question thus of the portrait of Mary Lygon, a friend who travelled to Australia about this time, or then of that of Helen Weaver, old been engaged of Elgar which emigrated in New Zealand in 1884.
- Variation 14 (Finale
:Presto Allegro) " E.D.U." : it is about the self-portrait of Elgar, Edu being a nickname which his wife gave him. It takes again quotations of the first and ninth variation. A first version was shorter of almost a hundred measurements compared to the final version. In July 1899, one month after the completion of the first grinding, Alfred Jaeger, the person described like Nimrod in variation 9, suggests in Elgar lengthening the final variation. Elgar accepts the idea and adds of it a part played to the organ.
Each variation is thus a psychological portrait, also comprising quotations with certain characteristics of the characters (like the laughter of Winifred Norbury) or with situations (night walk with Jaeger).
EnigmasThe word " Enigma" refers in fact with two riddles, the first being the identification of the portraituré character. There would exist however a " topic caché" on which is founded all the variations, this topic not being never audible, being able to be a melody, which forever confirmed Elgar. Elgar wrote during the first execution: " I will not reveal the enigma, his mystery having to be kept. I must inform you that the relationship between the Topic and its variations is extremely held. Moreover, there exists a topic which includes the whole but which is never " joué" … The main theme thus appears never, as in certain plays where the main character is not on scène." Elgar writes again on this famous topic in a comment joint with rollers for Pianola published in 1929: " the alternation of the two eighth notes and two black in the first measurement and their inversion in the second measurement must be noted, the references to this extract being permanent (either on the level of the melody, or in the accompagnement".
Several authors think that this " topic caché" is a known melody. One suspecté the British anthem thus " God Save the Queen ", or " Auld Lang Syne" transposed in minor mode. Other assumptions are interested in the Symphonie " Prague" of Mozart because it belonged to the concert of creation of the variations Enigma in 1899. Others proposed the traditional topic of Folia, or, an extract of " never, never, never" , section of " Rule Britannia "; the topic which can be guessed in the first five notes of work. The title " never, never, never (never, never, never) being able to refer so that the topic never appears .
Another theory is that of Ian Parrott, vice-president of the Elgar Company, which it expresses in his book on Elgar (" Master Musicians" , 1971) are that the topic hidden is in relation to the Vulgate, version of the Épîtres to the Corinthians, 13:12 which says: " videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate tunc autem facie AD faciem nunc cognosco ex leaves tunc autem cognoscam sicut and cognitus sum" who can result in " Now, we see through dark glass, but, face to face, I know that I know, and as, as it me connaît".
- Nice, David (1996). Edward Elgar: year essential guide to his life and works . London: Pavillion. ISBN 1-85793-977-8.
- Reed, W H: Elgar , London, J Mr. Dent & Sounds, 1939.
- Piano adaptation off '' Enigma Variations '' in MIDDAY spins (104KB) The topic and its 14 variations are located At Ca 00:55, 02:05, 02:55, 04:20, 04:50, 06:25, 07:30, 08:28, 09:50, 12:22, 14:55, 15:53, 17:38, 19:13 in this 24-min track.
- Julia Trevelyan Oman Files University off Bristol-board Theater Collection,
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