Saturday, September 24, 2011

Elgar’s Diamond Jubilee

Elgar’s Variations are my Everest,
Elevating song to the starry heights,
Lasting music by one of England’s best,
Guarded by ciphers, a trove of insights,
A labyrinth of dark enigmas unguessed,
Rousing strains of love’s labors lost, now found,
Solved by one willing to endure the test;
Jesus spoke in 'dark sayings' to confound,
Unveiling truth not to the rich and wise,
But rather to fools, the poor, and the lame,
In music Elgar mimics that disguise,
Lifting up in secret his Savior’s name,
Enduring to the end he ran his race,
Emboldened by seeing Christ’s Holy Face.
Robert W. Padgett

This article celebrates a new milestone for this blog: 50,000 page views. This number is understated as some posts range between ten to forty pages in length, yet a view is counted as a single page. A more conservative estimate of real page views is ten to fifteen times greater, or approximately 750,000. Considering the subject is something as esoteric as a British symphony by Edward Elgar, this is by no means a small feat. A Google search of Elgar enigma solution lists my blog as the number one search result, beating out other popular sites like Wikipedia and This favorable condition has been the case for over six months. Based on this web ranking, I must be onto something.
On the third of February 2009, I was fortunate enough to discover the covert principal Theme to Elgar’s Enigma Variations: Ein feste Burg by the German Reformer Martin Luther. This extraordinary event took place in my hometown of Pacific Grove precisely on the bicentennial of Felix Mendelssohn’s birth, something I was blissfully unaware of at the time. It was also 110 years after the completion of the Variations in February 1899, and 75 years following Elgar’s death in February 1934. The passage of 75 years after an event is known in the United States as a Diamond Jubilee. In commemoration of this discovery, I composed an acrostic sonnet that spells E ELGAR'S JUBILEE. I chose a sonnet because it has fourteen lines, and similarly, the Enigma Variations has fourteen variations.
The credit for this marvelous discovery belongs to my heavenly Father who graciously answered my fervent prayer, blessing me with the wisdom and endurance needed to surmount the seemingly insurmountable. As this was His gift, I have not sought to profit from it in any way. On the contrary, I prefer to emulate Elgar’s excellent example, for the Variations were his first major noncommissioned work. I seek no reward in this lifetime but prefer to collect my treasure in the next. I suspect Elgar’s motivations in 1898-99 were similar, preferring to follow the great commission rather than toil for one from a publisher hungry for trifles rather than triumphs. Jesus told his followers to do their good works in secret to ensure they are not recognized and rewarded by the world, but rather by our heavenly Father. My exhaustive study of the Enigma Variations has produced some fascinating findings as described in my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.
Why was I chosen, of all people, to make these unprecedented discoveries? I never attended a conservatory, but then neither did Elgar. On closer analysis, a comparison of Elgar’s life history with my own produces a lengthy list of similar life experiences. Elgar and I share an astonishing number of similar life experiences. Like me, he was: 
  1. The son of a musician father who “who hated all religions”[1] 
  2. The son of a devout Christian mother who taught him to revere God and the arts 
  3. The fourth child born to his parents 
  4. A husband and father 
  5. A Christian 
  6. A concert violinist 
  7. A piano accompanist 
  8. An instructor of violin, viola, and piano 
  9. A violin student of a respected teacher 
  10. A self-taught composer 
  11. An enthusiast for golfing, kite flying, bicycling and experimenting in a home laboratory 
  12. A law student in his youth 
  13. Employed for a few years in an asylum as a musician 
  14. Planning to attend conservatory but could not afford to do so 
  15. An ardent admirer of Bach, Mendelssohn, and Wagner 
  16. A Native English speaker 
  17. Able to speak, read and write German 
  18. An award-winning composer 
  19. Viewed as an outsider because of his faith, profession and class 
  20. Suspicious of career academics 
  21. Fascinated by puns, anagrams, and cryptograms
These similar life experiences have undoubtedly helped in my quest for answers. The scripture says, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” In my case, the Lord could not have chosen a more foolish messenger from the perspective of secular academia. In their eyes, I am a dithering fool, and they have told me so in no uncertain terms. The scripture also assures us that “there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested.” [2] No matter how hard the world strives to hide the truth, it eventually gets out. In the case of Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the waiting lasted 110 years, and now the answers are finally here. To learn more about the secrets behind one of Elgar’s most celebrated symphonic achievements, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.

[1] McVeagh, D. (2007), Elgar the Music Maker. Rochester, New York: Boydell Press, p 57.

1 comment:

MPadgett said...


About Mr. Padgett

My photo
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.