The congregation began to assemble, and Flemming went up with them to the house of the Lord. In the body of the church he found the pews all filled or locked; they seemed to belong to families. He went up into the gallery, and looked over the psalm-book of a peasant, while the congregation sang the sublime old hymn of Martin Luther,
"Our God, he is a tower of strength,
A trusty shield and weapon."
Edward Elgar was deeply grateful to the German conductor Hans Richter for agreeing to conduct the premiere of the Enigma Variations in June 1899. As a token of his gratitude, he presented Richter with a copy of Longfellow’s Hyperion. In a letter accompanying the book, Elgar wrote, “I send you the little book about which we conversed & from which I, as a child, received my first idea of the great German nations.” Little did Richter know the identity of the famous unstated Principal Theme to the Enigma Variations could be found within its pages.
Martin Luther's Our God, he is a tower of strength is one of the many translations of Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott. No wonder Elgar thought the answer would soon be discovered, for he literally gave it away to an eminent musician who should have recognized it. Elgar proved that sometimes the best way to hide something is in plain sight. To learn more about the secrets of the Enigma Variations, read my eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed. Like my heavenly Father’s gift of salvation, the price is free.