Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. . He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924. Although he is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain. In his fifties, Elgar composed a symphony and a violin concerto that were immensely successful. His music came, in his later years, to be seen as appealing chiefly to British audiences.
The superb transcription was done by William H. Harris (1883-1973) who was organist of several New College,Oxford, Christchurch Oxford, and finally of St. George's, Windsor.
“Nimrod” is the ninth of the Enigma Variations. Each variation in the set is inspired by an important person from Elgar’s life. The subject of “Nimrod” is Augustus Jaeger, a music editor and close friend of Elgar who encouraged him to continue composing at a particularly low point in his early career. The name “Nimrod” comes from a heroic biblical hunter, and hunter is Jäger in German. Elgar said that the Enigma Variations based on “a counterpoint on some well-known melody that is never heard.” Elgar never revealed which well-known melody he had in mind, so the riddle of this piece has occupied music scholars for over a century.
This work supremely shows the glory of the Peterborough Hill sound. The dynamics are very wide ranging, so, be careful how loudly you listen!
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Sir Edward Elgar and of Sir William H. Harris.