“The essence of beauty is unity in variety.”
A considerable amount of research documents that the covert Principal Theme to Elgar’s Enigma Variations is the famous Lutheran hymn A Mighty Fortress (Ein feste Burg). New cryptographic evidence has emerged confirming this novel theory. An ingenious alphanumeric cipher embedded within the Mendelssohn fragments of Variation XIII produces the initials for Ein feste Burg: E.F.B. This cipher relies on the number of times a fragment is stated in a particular key to pinpoint the solution letter from a series of note letters from each key fragment. Counting backward the number of times a fragment is performed in a specific key generates the solution letter from a series of unique note letters derived from that fragment. In a remarkable parallel, another music cipher in the Enigma Theme encodes those same three initials.
There are two Mendelssohn fragments in A-flat major containing the note letters C, B and A. Since only unique note letters are required for the cipher, the repeated A at the end of the fragment is listed only once. Counting backwards two steps in the series C-B-A produces the solution letter B. The third Mendelssohn fragment in F minor appears just once and has the unique note letters A, G and F. Counting once from the end of the sequence produces the solution letter F. The final Mendelssohn fragment in E-flat occurs only once and has the unique note letters G, F, and E. Counting once in reverse order produces the solution letter E. Elgar's ingenious Mendelssohn Cipher forms the initials E.F.B. in the reverse order of the fragments involving a method of counting backwards from a series of unique note letters sourced from those fragments (Version A).
The same solution is possible when including all four note letters on condition that the reverse count begins on the first to last letter in the series (Version B).
Three of the Mendelssohn fragments are enclosed in quotations because they, like the source material, are in the major mode. The fourth fragment appears in minor and lacks quotations ostensibly for that reason. There is another less obvious explanation for why this minor fragment lacks any quotation marks. There is a total of twelve notes enclosed in three sets of quotations, a remarkable coincidence since Ein feste Burg is also three words long and contains a total of twelve letters. Elgar's use of quotations around three of the Mendelssohn quotes serves to signal the number of words and letters in the title of the Covert Principal Theme. Elgar's allusions to various German artists (Mendelssohn, Goethe, and Joachim) hint that the missing title's language is in German and three words long. The common title for A Mighty Fortress is Ein feste Burg. The total number of letters in the names Mendelssohn, Goethe, and Joachim is 24, the same in the full title of Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott. Twenty-four also happens to be the same number of notes in the opening six measures of the Enigma Theme, the very place Elgar encoded his 'dark saying,' the Enigma Cipher.
The Mendelssohn Cipher reveals that Elgar encoded the missing initials for the unstated Principal Theme's title, sealing the case for E.F.B as the solution letters to the mysterious three asterisks. What everyone thought represented the secret friend are in reality the initials for a popular hymn that names that famous person within the lyrics. To discover the identity of his secret friend and inspiration for Variation XIII, read ***. To learn more about the secrets of the Enigma Variations, read my eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.