Sunday, May 04, 2008

Here’s my theory on the ‘enigma’ of Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Having just gotten home from my final concert of this year’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra season, where Enigma was on the program, I offer these thoughts.

It’s a homage to, or reflection upon, rather than calling it a variation on, the Dies Irae opening.

Of course, in addition to some differences in note intervals, it’s in a major key.

That’s why each individual variation is named after a friend of Elgar’s. Rather than a reflection on their deaths, or last judgments, though, it’s a reflection on their lives, with the “positive” angle of the major key.

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