Evening Masterwork: Elgar’s Enigma Variations

Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934)

Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar

Evening Masterwork for September 5, 2019 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

The story goes that after a long day of teaching, Edward Elgar arrived at his home and sat down at the piano to play a little bit… and what he came up with would become the Enigma Variations. He took that tune and transformed it into various caricatures of his friends and family – these are the variations, which he labeled with the initials of the people they represented, but the true enigma of the piece is that Elgar offers no original melody, or theme, that the variations are based off of. And Elgar himself encouraged speculation over the hidden theme, a mystery which continues to be left unsolved to this day.