Monday, July 1, 2019

How Elgar Channels Wagner Via Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn was a gentleman of refinement and high degree; a man of culture and polished manner; a courtier who was always at home in evening dress. As was the man, so is his music, full of elegance, grace, finish, and refinement, but carried without variance to such a degree that at times one longs for brawn and muscle. Yet it is music that is always exquisite, fairylike, and fine in character.
Elgar was “tout à fait Mendelssohn.”
Ralph Vaughan Williams recounting a remark made by Maurice Ravel

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) composed his inaugural Symphony in C major at the impressionable age of nineteen during a brief six-week period in the summer of 1832. Christian August Pohlenz (1790-1843) conducted an early performance of it at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in January 1833. Wagner’s first symphony radiates the blended influences of Mozart, Beethoven, and Weber. After Felix Mendelssohn succeeded Pohlenz as Director of Gewandhaus in 1836, Wagner gifted him the original score and humbly solicited Mendelssohn’s candid opinion. This magnanimous gift was never acknowledged, and Mendelssohn eventually misplaced or disposed of the only surviving copy. It was feared Wagner’s first symphony would never be heard from again until 1872 when copies of the orchestral parts were discovered inside a trunk abandoned by Wagner when he fled Dresden during the abortive Revolution of 1848. Three months before his death, Wagner conducted a private performance of his first symphony in December 1882 to commemorate his wife’s birthday. The Musical Times reported its first performance in London five years later at St. James Hall in November 1887.
Wagner never forgave Mendelssohn for callously disregarding his first symphony, losing the original score, and declining to conduct it. He later confided to his wife, Cosima, that he suspected Mendelssohn lost his symphony because “perhaps because he detected in it a talent which was disagreeable to him.” Before this unpleasant episode, Wagner admired Mendelssohn so much that he assimilated characteristics of his music and orchestration. Wagner’s overture to his opera Die Feen (The Fairies) begins with a pianissimo chord sequence that recalls the overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He modeled his 1835 overture Columbus so closely after Mendelssohn’s overture Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage) that he eventually confessed to plagiarism. Like the fate of his first symphony, the original score to his Columbus overture was lost to history after a London publisher refused to publish it and misplaced the manuscript. Thomas Grey detects Mendelssohn’s influence in Wagner’s orchestration near the conclusion of Act I of the opera Der fliegende Höllander (The Flying Dutchman). He observes, “As Daland and the Dutchman take leave of each other the characteristic music of these propitious winds is heard again (measures 529-34) in woodwind arpeggios and high divisi string tremolos, strongly reminiscent of the same descriptive effect in Mendelssohn’s overture Meeresstille under Glückliche Fahrt.
It is not uncommon for young composers to emulate the compositions of eminent masters to absorb more innovative forms of orchestration, melodic and harmonic structure, and counterpoint. In his early twenties, Elgar carried out just such an exercise by composing a work that carefully tracks the structure and modulations of Mozart’s Symphony in G minor K 550. Elgar’s affinity for that key is demonstrated by setting six movements of the Enigma Variations in G minor including the sybilline Enigma Theme.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery as well as a potent learning tool for autodidacts like Wagner and Elgar who never attended any conservatory. The deprivation of a traditional education freed them from the pharisaical diktats of academics and shackles of convention, unleashing their creative impulses to produce symphonic and choral masterpieces.
Only after Mendelssohn’s untimely death at age 38 did Wagner set out to undermine his standing in the German pantheon of composers. Wagner was clearly settling a (lost) score with Mendelssohn, cowardly delaying the launch of his published salvos until his antagonist had exited life’s stage and could no longer respond. Even so, the long shadow Mendelssohn cast over Wagner’s music appears in two later works, the Kaisermarsch composed 1871 and his final opera Parsifal written between 1857 and 1882. In his march that commemorates the German victory in the Franco-Prussian war, Wagner quotes four phrases from the hymn Ein feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress) by Martin Luther. Mendelssohn cites that same hymn in the fourth movement of his Reformation Symphony composed in 1830.  Mendelssohn also incorporates within its first movement the Dresden Amen, a cadence formula devised by Johann Gottlieb Naumann. Wagner attended a performance of Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony in February 1876 and later adapted the Dresden Amen in the Grail Leitmotif from Parsifal.
Mendelssohn’s impact on Wagner’s earliest and later compositions is undeniable, particularly in the case of the Columbus overture that scrupulously imitates Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt written seven years prior. Is there further evidence of Mendelssohn’s influence on works by Wagner during his formative years as a composer? There is an uncanny resemblance between subordinate themes in Mendelssohn’s overture Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt and Wagner’s overture to Der fliegende Holländer composed between 1840 and 1841. Both themes are in the major mode and start on the third scale degree of their respective keys. The opening phrase of each melody shares the identical melodic interval sequence and virtually the same rhythmic pattern. Both themes also appear in overtures that sonically portray the sea.
Further parallels emerge four bars into these respective themes where the melodic note letters are the same (C) with the brief exception of an upper auxiliary (D) in Wagner’s melody that promptly returns to C. This pattern continues over the next two bars where the ensuing four note letters match sequentially (A-G-F-F) in a restatement of the opening thematic figure. The start and finish of Mendelssohn’s sustained F-sharp with a whole note tied over the barline to a quarter are framed squarely by Wagner’s more fluid imitation with a high F followed by four intervening quarter notes in parentheses that descend to an F an octave lower. Although the notes, melodic intervals, and rhythms may not always match exactly, the resemblances strongly support the conclusion that Wagner drew inspiration for his subordinate theme from Mendelssohn. The odds of such a melodic confluence between two overtures about the sea are decidedly remote. Wagner clearly embraced the adage that mediocre artists borrow, but great artists steal. As was already shown, Der fliegende Holländer was not Wagner’s first time pirating material from Mendelssohn’s marine overture.
Elgar quotes the opening four notes of Mendelssohn’s subordinate theme from Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage in Variation XIII of the Enigma Variations. His treatment of these melodic quotations mirrors numerous elements from Wagner’s handling of quotations from Ein feste Burg in his Kaisermarsch. In a letter to August Jaeger dating from early May 1899, Elgar briefly floated the idea of excising the Mendelssohn quotations in Variation XIII to avert offending the conservative mores of his critics. He soon abandoned that notion and retained his original short score and orchestration for the June premiere conducted by Hans Richter. In his letter, Elgar explained:

The pretty Lady is on the sea & far away & I meant this (originally) as a little quotation from Mendelssohn’s Meerestille ū. Glٷückliche Fahrt. — but I did not acknowledge it as the critics — if one mentions anything of the kind — talk of nothing else — so I have cut out the reference — I think you can alter the score — in two places — it’s only Clar[ine]t! Tell me what else reminds the critics of something else. I might alter it.

Wagner’s influence on Elgar was monumental, commencing in the 1870s and continuing throughout the rest of his life. Someone of Elgar’s musical sensitivity and genius would have easily spotted the striking similarities between the maritime melodies from overtures by Mendelssohn and Wagner. Wagner’s theme is hummed and sung by Senta in Act II, the heroine who later in Act III casts herself into the sea after professing her eternal love for the doomed and wandering Dutchman. With her declaration and death, Senta frees the Dutchman from the curse of endlessly sailing the high seas as the captain of a fabled ghost ship that never makes port. No wonder in a letter to a fellow Wagnerian, Elgar prefaced his remarks concerning the Mendelssohn fragments with, "The Pretty Lady is on the sea & far away..." That description is richly redolent of Senta’s fate.
Elgar was very familiar with both of these overtures and would have easily discerned the resemblance between Mendelssohn's original theme and Wagner's transparent adaptation. Their melodic intervals and rhythmic patterns are essentially indistinguishable. These intersecting themes and poetic symbolism were ideally suited for Elgar's purpose. Elgar carefully studied and assimilated the works of Wagner, and in quoting Mendelssohn's theme sails in the proverbial wake of Wagner’s Dutchman. Senta’s theme appears twice in D major near the conclusion of the overture. What makes Senta’s melody in D major truly remarkable is it exhibits the identical melodic and rhythmic structure as Elgar’s Mendelssohn quotations.
Der fliegende Holländer overture bars 322-330
Der fliegende Holländer overture bars 331-338
Variation XIII Mendelssohn quotation at Rehearsal 56
These D major phrases appear in bars 330-331 and 334-335, three and seven bars respectively after Rehearsal L. That particular letter presents a tantalizing coincidence as Elgar identified the earliest draft of Variation XIII with an initial L. In the overture, Senta’s theme occurs seven times in three different keys—three times in F major, twice in G major, and twice in D major. Elgar also presents his Mendelssohn fragments in three different keys: A-flat major, F minor, and E-flat major. The sequentially corresponding note letters and melodic intervals between Mendelssohn’s theme (bars 189-190) and Wagner’s theme (bars 69-70) are also shared by Elgar’s F minor Mendelssohn fragment (Rehearsal 58). Wagner and Elgar cite the same melodic fragment by Mendelssohn in one of their symphonic works with the caveat that Wagner kept his secret while Elgar openly acknowledged his source.
Mendelssohn quotation at Rehearsal 58-59 of Variation XIII
Wagner became highly critical of Mendelssohn in later life, yet he still played songs at the piano for his children from A Midsummer Nights Dream. Although their music and artistic philosophies were worlds apart, Mendelssohn and Wagner are united by their practice of quoting Ein feste Burg in their symphonic oeuvre. Both composers were greatly admired by Elgar, a Roman Catholic who could only indulge in this rite of the German School through covert means. However, this did not deter him from inserting fragments of that famous hymn within the Enigma Theme and Variation X. The title of that famous hymn comes from the first verse of Psalm 46, a chapter that goes on to mention the sea in verses two and three.
It has been shown there is a conspicuous resemblance between the opening phrases of subordinate themes from Mendelssohn’s Meeresstille under Glückliche Fahrt (bar 185-186) and Wagner’s Der fliegende Höllander (bar 65-66). Both phrases begin on the third degree of their respective modes, the sequence of melodic intervals are identical, and their rhythmic structures are equivalent given the dissimilar time signatures of 4/4 and 6/4. Extending the comparison of these themes beyond the opening four notes unmasks a series of sequentially matching note letters, albeit in differing modes, that bolsters the conclusion that Wagner was indeed imitating elements of Mendelssohn's original maritime melody. More remarkable still is that Elgar's truncated Mendelssohn fragment cited in Variation XIII matches Wagner's D major version exactly (bars 330-31 and 334-35) with its fourth note truncated to a dotted quarter. These parallels between Elgar's and Wagner's versions of Mendelssohn's original theme implies that Elgar recognized Wagner's hijacking of Mendelssohn's theme.
The Mendelssohn fragments are like a small thread that, when tugged, unravels a vast net of intersecting musical cryptograms and counterpoints. Far from being irrelevant, the Mendelssohn fragments conceal a rich cache of cryptograms that disclose and authenticate the covert melodic Theme and the secret friend memorialized in Variation XIII. These diverse ciphers encode a highly specific set of mutually reinforcing solutions, an outcome that precludes the possibility of an ex post facto contrivance.  Elgar’s expertise as a cryptographer makes these discoveries unsurprising except for those who naively insist there are no cryptograms to discover. That does not change the fact that Elgar’s passion for this esoteric art form remains a towering feature of his psychological profile. To learn more about the secrets of the Enigma Variations, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Elgar's Wagneresque Quotations in Variation XIII

My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that is what pleased you.
Jesus praying in Mathew 11:25-26

The German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) exerted a profound and lasting impact on the English composer Edward Elgar (1857-1934). So undeniable is this fact that Barry Millington, the Editor of The Wagner Journal, writes that Wagner’s “...influence on the harmonic language of composers such as Parry, Stanford and Elgar is self-evident.” From 1877 through 1902, Elgar attentively studied Wagner’s orchestration, innovative harmonic language, and system of Leitmotifs. During these 25 years, Elgar regularly heard Wagner’s music in London at concerts conducted by Hans Richter and August Manns. He also made numerous trips to Germany to bask in the mythical romanticism of Wagner’s operas. These protracted efforts culminated in 1900 with The Dream of Gerontius, a numinous homage to Wagner’s final opera Parsifal.
Wagner's influence on Elgar's music is a fertile field of research and scholarship. In his groundbreaking 1985 paper Elgar and Wagner, Peter Dennison unmasks and documents Leitmotifs from Wagner’s operas in Elgar’s early choral works. Dennison reasons that a careful study of Wagner's music permeated Elgar’s compositions. Consistent with this pattern, Elgar adapted Wagnerian Leitmotifs in Chanson de Nuit, a solo violin piece with piano accompaniment composed in 1889-90. In 2008, Laura Meadows picked up where Dennison left off in her exhaustive thesis Elgar as Post-Wagnerian: A Study of Elgar’s Assimilation of Wagner’s Music and Methodology. Meadows lays out a compelling case that Elgar was “profoundly influenced by Wagner from an early age and this influence gradually infiltrated his compositional thoughts.” She traces this process through Elgar’s large-scale choral and orchestral compositions through 1899.
Ian Beresford Gleaves ventures further down this path in his article Elgar and Wagner published in the July 2007 issue of The Elgar Society Journal. He observes that Wagner’s enduring impact on Elgar extended to his orchestration of the Enigma Variations which “assimilates many of Wagner’s methods, particularly as regards the tutti.” He also draws attention to a Wagnerian modulation in bars 30-31 of Variation I that recalls bars 16-17 of the Prelude to Act I of Tristan. Although not recognized until now, Elgar further emulates Wagner’s methods in his treatment of the melodic quotations from Mendelssohn’s overture Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage) in Variation XIII. Only one work by Wagner incorporates melodic fragments by another composer—the Kaisermarsch (Imperial March) composed in 1871.
There are some extraordinary parallels between Wagner's quotations of Martin Luther's hymn Ein feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress) in the Kaisermarsch and Elgar's Mendelssohn quotations in Variation XIII. The impetus for comparing these two sets of melodic quotations emerged from two factors. As previously outlined, the first is that Elgar was deeply influenced by an intensive study of Wagner’s music from 1876 through 1902. The second is that the covert Theme to the Enigma Variations is Ein feste Burg, the renowned battle hymn of the Protestant Reformation composed by a heretic excommunicated by Pope Leo X. This melodic solution readily explains why Elgar, a practicing Roman Catholic, adamantly refused to disclose the melodic lynchpin to his Enigma Variations.
The first and most obvious parallel to emerge between the melodic quotations in Kaisermarch and Variation XIII is they originate from alien works with original Geman titles by other German composers. Wagner cites Ein feste Burg by Martin Luther, and Elgar quotes Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt by Felix Mendelssohn. Far from being remote from one another, Luther and Mendelssohn are linked by a variety of factors. Mendelssohn was baptized a Lutheran on the anniversary of Bach’s birth.  Luther’s Ein feste Burg is quoted by Mendelssohn in the fourth movement of the Reformation Symphony. They spoke German, contributed to the establishment of the German School, and espoused the importance of sharing the gospel message through hymns and other sacred music.
A second conspicuous parallel concerns the number of melodic quotations in Kaisermarsch and Variation XIII. There are four citations of Ein feste Burg in Kaismarch, and four from Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage in Variation XIII. A third parallel is that Wagner’s and Elgar’s four melodic fragments are framed in three contrasting keys. Wagner selected the major modes of B-flat, E-flat, and A-flat. Elgar chose A-flat and E-flat major, matching two of Wagner’s three key choices. His divergent key choice of F minor is associated with Wagner’s B-flat major quotation as that phrase cadences in the parallel key of F major.
A fourth parallel centers on the distribution of the melodic fragments. Three of Wagner’s quotations are of the opening phrase of Ein feste Burg (Phrase A), and the fourth of its ending phrase (Phrase B). Although Elgar’s citations are of the same melodic fragment, they reflect a similar distribution because three fragments are in a major mode and one is in a minor key. Wagner’s fourth and final fragment from Ein feste Burg is in E-flat major. This presents a fifth parallel as Elgar’s fourth and final Mendelssohn quotation is also in that identical key.
A sixth parallel is the number of notes in Wagner’s quotations corresponds to those in Elgar’s clarinet solos that introduce the Mendelssohn quotations. There are ten notes in Wagner’s quotation of Phrase A from Ein feste Burg. There are four notes in Elgar's Mendelssohn quotations in A flat major, and this phrase is further elaborated by six more notes to form a coherent clarinet solo comprised of ten notes. There are nine notes in Wagner's quotation of Phrase B from Ein feste Burg. Elgar's Mendelssohn fragment in F minor has four notes that are extended with the addition of five more notes to form a complete nine-note soli. A seventh parallel is based on how Wagner and Elgar orchestrated their quotations. The F minor Mendelssohn fragment is performed in octaves by the trumpets and trombones. This same orchestration technique is deployed by Wagner for his Ein feste Burg quotations with the melodic line dominated by the trumpets and trombones at the octave.
An eight parallel is the concluding notes of each set of melodic quotations encode the initials of an important three-word phrase in the German language. The final notes of Wagner’s melodic fragments of Ein feste Burg in order of appearance are F, B-flat, and E-flat. Those three note letters are an anagram of the initials for Ein feste Burg. The last notes of the Mendelssohn fragments in Variation XIII are A-flat, F, and E-flat. Those three letters are an anagram of violinist Joseph Joachim’s personal romantic motto “Frei aber einsam” (Free but lonely). Those initials served as the foundational motif for the F-A-E Violin Sonata composed in honor of Joachim by Robert Schumann, Albert Dietrich, and Johannes Brahms. Through the key letters of the Mendelssohn fragments, Elgar enciphered a well-known music cryptogram used by famous German composers.
As a young protégé of Mendelssohn, Joachim confidently performed Beethoven’s violin concerto at a Royal Philharmonic Society concert in London on May 27, 1844. At only twelve years of age, Joachim was granted a special exemption from a rule barring child prodigies. Joachim was a perennial favorite of Queen Victoria and the British public. It is entirely fitting that his romantic motto is encoded by the keys of melodic fragments composed by his champion, Felix Mendelssohn. Like Joachim’s motto, the title of the covert Theme to the Enigma Variations is three words in German.
There is another intriguing cryptographic link between Wagner's and Elgar’s melodic quotations because both sets encode the initials for Ein Feste Burg. In Wagner's Kaisermarsch, the three Phrase A quotations of Ein feste Burg are presented in three contrasting keys: B-flat major (bars 42-46), E-flat major (bars 61-66), and A-flat major (bars 183-187). Each Phrase A quotation concludes with a half cadence a fifth above the starting key. The B-flat major fragment cadences in F major; the E-flat major fragment cadences in B-flat major; the A-flat major fragment cadences in E-flat major. The key letters of those three half cadences (F, B-flat, and E-flat) are an anagram of the initials for Ein feste Burg. These fragments are drawn from Bach's version from the final movement of his sacred cantata Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80. Wagner revered Bach, a Lutheran composer who encoded words in his music.
Elgar enciphers the same three initials alluded to by the enigmatic title (***) in his handling of the Mendelssohn fragments. The key to this code is rather simple. The number of statements of a fragment in a given key designates the corresponding scale degree of that key as the solution letter. Two fragments in A-flat major implicates the second scale degree of that mode (B-flat). One fragment is in F minor pinpoints the first scale degree of that key ( F). There is also one final quotation in E-flat major that designates the first scale degree of that mode (E-flat). Those three note letters are the absent initials indicated by the three mysteries asterisks in the title of Variation XIII. It is remarkable that the first letters in the titles of the movements immediately before (XII B. G. N.) and after (XIV E. D. U. & Finale) Variation XIII also provide those same initials. Elgar wrote those three letters as FEb on the Master Score, twice on the covert and again on the final page. He also provided those three letters in the form of an acrostic anagram at the conclusion of the extended Finale completed in July 1899.
There is yet another tantalizing link between Wagner’s Kaisermarsch and the Mendelssohn fragments cited in Variation XIII. The accompaniment to the Mendelssohn fragments consists of a pulsating ostinato derived from the Enigma Theme’s palindromic rhythm of alternating pairs of eighth notes and quarter notes. In Morse Code (a system Elgar knew well), this palindromic ostinato spells out the letters MI following by IM. These two sets of initials match those for the French (Marche Impériale) and English (Imperial March) translations of the original German title. Elgar encoded within the accompaniment figure the French and English initials of a work by Wagner that quotes the covert Theme in a manner eerily similar to Elgar’s handling of the Mendelssohn fragments.
There are some interesting points of correspondence between the Enigma Theme and Kaisermarsch. Both are set in common time (4/4) and have two flats in the key signature with Kaisermarsch in B-flat major, and the Enigma Theme in the relative key of G minor. Wagner employs the G minor chord as the harmony for the first note of the opening Ein feste Burg quotation in bar 42.  There are other similarities between the Kaisermarsch and the Enigma Variations. For instance, a series of descending melodic fourths beginning at 234 of the Kaisermarsch are virtually identical to the falling melodic fourths at the outset of Variation XIII that is repeated several times throughout the movement.

Wagner’s Kaisermarsch was exceedingly popular from 1877 through 1911 before the conflagration of World War I rendered all things German strictly verboten. On May 7, 1877, Wagner conducted Kaisermarsch at a rehearsal in the Royal Albert Hall. Hubert Parry attended the event and recorded this reaction in his diary:
All the morning at the rehearsal at the Albert Hall. Wagner conducting is quite marvellous; he seems to transform all he touches, he knows precisely what he wants and does it to a certainty. The Kaisermarsch became quite new under his influence and supremely magnificent. I was so wild with excitement after it that I did not recover all the afternoon. The concert in the evening was very successful and the Meister was received with prolonged applause but many people found the Rheingold selection too hard for them.
Elgar heard numerous performances of Wagner’s Kaisermarsch in the years leading up to the genesis of the Enigma Variations. As documented in Christopher Fifield’s thoroughly researched and endlessly fascinating biography, Hans Richter conducted no less than fifteen performances of Kaisermarch at Richter Concerts in London between 1879 and 1897. The dates of those performances are listed below:

  • May 7, 1877
  • May 28, 1877
  • May 5, 1879
  • May 3, 1882
  • June 2, 1883
  • April 21, 1884
  • October 24, 1885
  • October 23, 1886
  • May 7, 1888
  • June 24, 1889
  • July 14, 1890
  • July 20, 1891
  • May 30, 1892
  • May 20, 1895
  • May 31, 1897

Elgar likely attended most if not all of these performances in his quest to hear Wagner’s music. Richter’s towering influence assured that the Kaisermarsch would be programmed by other orchestras throughout England during that era. The August 1, 1889 issue of The Monthly Musical Record contains a glowing review of a June 24 Richter Concert in London that was capped off by the Kaisermarsch:
The “Kaisermarsch” — that grand page of brilliant orchestral writing to celebrate a grand page in German history — again produced its overpowering effect at the conclusion of one of the finest concerts of the season.
That article also mentions the premiere of Hubert Parry’s Symphony No. 4 in E minor dedicated to Hans Richter. It describes “the diffuse finale” of that work with “its marked reminisces from…‘Kaisermarsch’...” Elgar attended that premiere after only recently settling in Kensington with his wife following their marriage in May 1889. Elgar gleaned insight and knowledge from Parry’s contributions to Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, performed his music as a sectional violinist, and publicly acknowledged Parry as “the head of our art in this country.” As evidence of his respect towards Parry, Elgar orchestrated his Jerusalem which is now a mainstay at the Last Night of the Proms.
Elgar’s handling of the Mendelssohn fragments in Variation XIII proves to be a stealth homage to Wagner’s treatment of Ein feste Burg in the Kaisermarsch. This analysis identified nine parallels between these two sets of melodic quotations, a sum too high to be ascribed to chance. The cryptographic links are the most intriguing as both series of quotations encode the initials for Ein feste Burg. It may be confidently argued that Elgar’s emulation of Wagner in his handling of the Mendelssohn fragments implicates Ein feste Burg as the covert Theme to the Enigma Variations. The overwhelming evidence for this discovery is contrapuntal, cryptographic, and multivalent as it accounts for a range of anomalies such as the conspicuous insertion of the Mendelssohn quotations. To learn more concerning the secrets of the Enigma Variations, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.

About Mr. Padgett

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Mr. Padgett studied violin with Michael Rosenker (a student of Leopold Auer), and Rosenker’s pupil, Owen Dunsford. Mr. Padgett studied piano with Sally Magee (a student of Emanuel Bay), and Blanca Uribe, a student of Rosina Lhévinne. He attended the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, California, and Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in psychology. At Vassar he studied music theory and composition with Richard Wilson. Mr. Padgett has performed for Joseph Silverstein, Van Cliburn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Steve Jobs, Prince Charles, Lady Camilla, Marcia Davenport, William F. Buckley, Jr., and other prominent public figures. His original compositions have been performed by the Monterey Symphony, at the Bohemian Grove, the Bohemian Club, and other private and public venues. In 2008 Mr. Padgett won the Max Bragado-Darman Fanfare Competition with his entry "Fanfare for the Eagles." It was premiered by the Monterey Symphony under Maestro Bragado in May 2008. A member of the Elgar Society, Mr. Padgett is married with five children.