An Old Testament patriarch, a WWII machine, a 2017 movie and Oriana!
Among the many composers showcased in Oriana’s upcoming concert and Italian Tour repertoire, “Lux Aeterna”, is one of England’s best loved and revered men-of-music, Edward Elgar. Indeed, his featured work is the one which gives our current season its title, and could be seen as the centrepiece of the programme.
When one thinks of the music of Elgar, one almost invariably thinks of his famous “Pomp And Circumstance Marches”. The best known of these, of course, is Number One. This beyond-famous work is one of the most powerful musical evocations of the past glories of the British Empire, and is the basis for the stirring and much-loved anthem, “Land Of Hope And Glory”.
As much loved as this work is, however, it is just a part of the vast musical legacy that Elgar gave to the world. Another work, equally loved but on an altogether different emotional level, is his “Variations on an Original Theme”, Opus 96, popularly known as the “Enigma Variations”. It is an orchestral work comprising fourteen variations on an original theme. “Lux Aeterna” is a choral arrangement of Variation number 9, “Nimrod”. The name of the variation refers to Nimrod, an Old Testament patriarch described as "a mighty hunter before the Lord".
Elgar disclosed to a friend that the opening bars of "Nimrod" were made to suggest the theme of the second movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 “Pathétique”. "Can't you hear it at the beginning?” he said. “Only a hint, not a quotation."
An adaptation of the piece appears at the ending of the 2017 film “Dunkirk” as part of the score.
Although it was an integral part of the “Enigma Variations”, “Nimrod” became a concert favourite in its own right. Arranged and performed as a choral piece, “Nimrod”/”Lux Aeterna” is hauntingly, achingly beautiful.
- with thanks to Wikipedia