Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Decoding Elgar’s Enigmatic Epitaphic Dedication: A Nexus Of Imbricating Ciphers

Guarneri “del Gesù” (c. 1730) the “Kreisler”

Decoding Elgar’s Enigmatic Epitaphic Dedication:
A Nexus Of Imbricating Ciphers

Robert W. Padgett


Edward Elgar’s expertise in cryptography invites a reappraisal of the cryptic Spanish dedication to his Violin Concerto in B minor: “Aquí está encerrada el alma de . . . . .” His translation of that fragmentary epitaph drawn from Lesage's 18th-century novel Gil Blas reads, “Herein is enshrined the soul of . . . . .” The word “encerrada” (shut or locked up) is conspicuously replaced by “enshrined” in this modified rendering. Five dots shroud the identity of the covert dedicatee. When treated as an acrostic anagram, the initials of Elgar’s translation (HIETSO) generate a series of interlocking Christrograms in Greek and Latin that reveal the absent name is Jesus.


Edward Elgar’s formal introduction to orchestration was Anton Reicha’s Orchestral Primer acquired in early March 1869. A lifelong friend of Beethoven, Reicha grants preeminence to the violin as the “king of instruments” because its capability of playing in any key with rapid execution makes it “the most useful and important” constituent of the orchestra.[1] This manual primed the preadolescent Elgar for two formative influences that converged later that year at the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester. The first was a desire to hear his musical creations performed by an orchestra. The second was his sudden impulse to learn how to play the violin. He pursued his primary objective by secretly inserting a “little tune” that he composed into the orchestral parts for Handel’s Messiah provided by Elgar Bros., the family music firm. This was his first documented instance of conceiving a counterpoint to a famous melody. He next persuaded his father to secure an entrée to a rehearsal where he heard the furtive premiere of his diminutive tune. At that same rehearsal, he was so thrilled by the violin part for “Oh thou that tellest” that he immediately sprang into action to realize his newfound ancillary ambition:
He hurried home and begged his father to lend him a violin from the stock of the shop, when he at once retired to an attic and straightaway endeavored to pick out the beginning of ‘Oh thou that tellest.’ The first two notes, A and D, were easy on the open strings, but then came difficulties. However, the boy was not to be beaten, and at the end of a fortnight he had mastered the violin part of ‘Oh thou that tellest’.[2]
The lyrics for that movement come from the King James translation of the Old Testament book of Isaiah which theologians interpret as a Messianic prophecy about Jesus. History affirms Elgar's ardor for both composition and the violin interacted synergistically in the hallowed confines of Worcester Cathedral during a performance of one of the most renowned sacred oratorios about Christ, the Savior of his Roman Catholic faith. As he grew and matured, Elgar fervently composed numerous works while supporting himself as a professional violinist, church organist, and music instructor until the premiere of his Enigma Variations in June 1899 secured international acclaim and a steady stream of commissions. His experience at the 1869 Three Choirs Festival embedded within Elgar’s weltanschauung an intimate association between composition, the violin, and Jesus. This artistic triumvirate reached its fullest expression in his sacred cantatas Lux Christi (The Light of Life), The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles, and The Kingdom. His epiphany at the 1869 Three Choirs Festival exerted an irresistible allure on his career and compositional output that ultimately reached its apotheosis four decades later with the advent of his Violin Concerto in B minor in 1910. It is telling that the violin concerto is in the relative minor key of D major, the same key signature as Handel’s “Oh thou that tellest.”
Elgar’s Violin Concerto is overtly dedicated to the virtuoso Fritz Kreisler. That consummate violinist publicly lobbied Elgar to write the concerto and brilliantly debuted it to great acclaim with the composer conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. There is an air of mystery surrounding the work as it is covertly dedicated to a friend whose name is represented by five dots. Elgar’s cryptic dedication reads, “Aquí está encerrada el alma de . . . . .” This fragment of a Spanish epitaph originates from Alain-René Lesage's picaresque novel The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane published in four volumes between 1715 and 1735. The literal translation is, “Here is locked up the soul of . . . . .” Elgar’s attraction to Lesage’s famous 18th-century French novel was likely shaped by his childhood literary options. Sheaves of Gil Blas were undoubtedly intermingled with an eclectic assortment of old books that Elgar organized and devoured during his youth. As he would later recount:
I had the good fortune to be thrown among an unsorted collection of old books. There were books of all kinds, and all distinguished by the characteristic that they were for the most part incomplete. I busied myself for days and weeks arranging them. I picked out the theological books, of which there were a great many, and put them on one side. Then I made a place for the Elizabethan dramatists, the chronicles including Barker’s and Hollinshed’s, besides a tolerable collection of old poets and translations of Voltaire and all sorts of things up to the eighteenth century. Then I began to read. I used to get up at four or five o’clock in the summer and read—every available opportunity found me reading. I read till dark. I finished reading every one of those books—including the theology. The result of that reading has been that people tell me that I know more of life up to the eighteenth century than I do of my own time, and it is probably true.[3]
The Spanish verb “encerrada” (locked or shut up) is a parody of the standard vernacular “enterrada” (interred). The unconventional wording obliquely implies the grave holds some mystery that may be unlocked. Elgar subtly modified his translation by substituting “Here” with “Herein” and “locked up” with “enshrined.” His version reads, “Herein is enshrined the soul of . . . . .” Subtle discrepancies between the literal translation and Elgar's version invite a search for ciphers. This hunch is bolstered by Elgar’s widely acknowledged expertise in cryptography that merits an entire chapter in Craig Bauer’s fascinating book Unsolved! Some noteworthy examples of his handiwork are the Liszt fragment and Dorabella cipher that stubbornly resisted decryption for over a century.
The identity of Elgar’s covert friend memorialized in his violin concerto has been endlessly debated without a satisfactory resolution. The list of leading contenders ranges from Alice Stuart-Wortley, Helen Weaver, Julia H. Worthington, W. H. “Billy” Reed, Caroline Alice Elgar, August Jaeger to Elgar himself. In September 1910, he wrote on a sheet of notepaper, “Aquí está encerrada el alma del . . . . .”[4] This comports with the source text that also employs “del” to denote the masculine gender of the deceased. He curtails the Spanish epitaph to enhance the mystery as it renders ambiguous the gender of his secret friend. The literary context of the dedication implies this unknown friend had died and was entombed. The truncated epitaph also strongly intimates his friend’s life was similarly cut short. Such implicit parameters preclude from serious consideration the known field of prospective candidates with five-letter names because they were still very much alive in 1910.
Sifting the literary context of Elgar's enigmatic dedication is a sensible place to begin the search for clues regarding his secret friend's identity. The Spanish epitaph appears in the first volume as an introductory parable relayed by the protagonist Gil Blas. His short tale depicts two students traveling from the Spanish city of Peñafiel to Salamanca. Along the way, they stop by a roadside spring to rest and refresh themselves. After slaking their thirst, they notice a nearby tombstone level with the ground, its text partially effaced by time and foot traffic. Dousing it with water to reveal the obscured letters, they make out the following Castilian epitaph: “Aquí está encerrada el alma del licenciado Pedro Garcias.”[5] The literal translation is, “Here lies shut up the soul of licentiate Pedro Garcias.” The younger of the students burst out laughing at the erroneous epitaph that should read “enterrada” rather than “encerrada.” After this brief interlude of idle mirth, the simpleton thinks nothing more and walks off to resume his journey.
The older, wiser student reasons that the anomalous epitaph hints at some hidden mystery and remains behind to unearth it. Using his knife, he carefully excavates around the unassuming tombstone to discover concealed beneath a leather purse holding 100 gold ducats and a card with a Latin message. The bequest reads, “Whosoever thou art who hast sense enough to discover the meaning of the inscription, inherit my money, and make better use of it than I have done.” The student quickly returns the stone marker to its place and gleefully departs with the “soul” of the licentiate in his pocket. Invoking the Roman lyric poet Horace, Lesage counsels that those who thoughtfully read his prose will “find profit mingled with pleasure.”[6]
Lesage’s deceptively simple parable is layered with stark and contrasting symbolism. The two students represent the polar extremes of a fool and a sage. Their journey suggests a metaphor for the linear progression of life from a starting point (birth) to a final resting place (death). Their corporeal fate is alluded to by the tombstone as death patiently awaits us all. Water is used to revive the living as well as unmask the dead. The “soul” of the departed is symbolically “resurrected” by the wise student to rejoin the land of the living. What could be the moral of this fable? One interpretation is that opportunity presents itself to all who pass by the fountain of life, yet only the discerning who are willing to labor to unearth it will enjoy its treasures.
There are many elements of Lesage’s tale that point to a decisive resolution to Elgar’s dedicatory conundrum. The most paramount is that it is a parable with a moral lesson. There is an exceedingly famous person at the crux of Elgar’s Roman Catholic faith who is renowned for his parables that instruct the righteous and confound the wicked. Conveniently, that historic figure possesses a name with exactly five letters: Jesus. The first name of the deceased (Pedro) is Spanish for Peter. That name is also shared by the chief Apostle of Christ and the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church who is called the Vicar of Christ. Like Jesus, the name Pedro is masculine and has five letters. The spring that revives the living and reveals the dead may be easily associated with Jesus who called himself the “living water.”[7] The buried coins are redolent of the Parable of the Talents in which Jesus condemns a wicked servant for burying his master’s coins out of fear rather than investing wisely to generate a profit.[8] The resurrection of the licentiate’s “soul” is an apt metaphor for Elgar’s secret friend who died and miraculously rose from the grave. This cursory textual analysis affirms Elgar's deft use of literature to transparently telegraph the identity of his secret friend.
In his pliable translation of the Spanish epitaph, Elgar substitutes the word “enshrined” for the standard term “interred.” That departure from the original meaning proves both revealing and revelatory. Enshrine means “to enclose in or as if in a shrine,” and “to preserve or cherish as sacred.”[9] A shrine is “a case, box, or receptacle” containing “sacred relics (such as the bones of a saint).”[10] It can also refer to a sanctuary or tomb where “devotion is paid to a saint or deity.” The only credible candidate whose death and tomb would satisfy the definitions of “enshrined” is Jesus. General Charles George Gordon popularized the Garden Tomb, a shrine for those who believe it to be the sacred resting place of Christ. Elgar was planning to compose a symphony in honor of General Gordon in 1898 when he abruptly redirected his artistic energies to the Enigma Variations. The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin are two famous sacred relics linked to the death and burial of Jesus. Remarkably, Gil Blas begins his adventures by departing his hometown of Oviedo, and his journey eventually takes him to the city of Turin.
There is evidence that Elgar associated the sacred with the violin. In May 1905, he likened a discarded E-string from Joseph Joachim’s violin to a “precious relic.”[11] A relic is “an object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr.”[12] Joachim was “arguably the most highly esteemed performing musician of his time.”[13] Elgar’s unbridled respect for Joachim emanated in part from his youthful ambition to become a famous violinist, a plan thwarted by inadequate instruction and funds. One of Joachim’s most eminent pupils, Leopold Auer, lauded his instructor’s divine sound. “Whenever I had an opportunity of hearing Joachim play,” Auer recounted, “I always felt as though he were a priest, thrilling his congregation with a sermon revealing the noblest moral beauties of a theme which could not help but interest all humanity.”[14] Joachim’s interpretive and technical mastery captivated audiences throughout Europe and England, imbuing him with a preternatural aura.
Some elements from the 1910 premiere of Elgar’s violin concerto further implicate Jesus as the secret dedicatee. Elgar selected Fritz Kreisler as the soloist, a respected musician who shared his Roman Catholic faith. The first syllable of “Kreisler” sounds nearly identical to “Christ.” Like Jesus, Kreisler was born Jewish. The concerto was performed on a violin made by Guarneri “del Gesù”, a famous Roman Catholic luthier. The Italian phrase “del Gesù” means “of Jesus.” The label on the inside of his renowned instruments exhibits two Christograms, a cross fleury, and the nomen sacrum (IHS). The name of Elgar’s secret dedicatee is easily reconstituted by paring the last names of the soloist and his violin as “Gesù Kreisler.”

The violin concerto would not be Elgar’s only musical homage to Christ. His first sacred cantata, Lux Christi (The Light of Life), was premiered in 1896 at the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester. In his first attempt at that genre, Elgar portrays the miracle of Jesus healing a man blind from birth as described in the Gospel of John.[15] Jesus mixes dirt with his spittle to make mud, applies it to the blind man’s eyes, and instructs him to wash in the pool of Siloam. After the man clears away the mud, his eyesight is miraculously restored. There is cryptographic evidence that Variation XIII from the Enigma Variations is also dedicated in secret to Jesus Christ. His initials are transparently encoded by its Roman numerals via a number-to-letter key. X represents the number ten, and the tenth letter of the alphabet is J. III stands for three, and the third letter is C. Elgar deployed the same number-to-letter key to encode the initials of August Jaeger using the Roman numerals of Variation IX (Nimrod).
Elgar was an aficionado of wordplay, and this impulse surfaces in his unorthodox Spanish dedication. The word “soul” (alma) is linked to a hidden part of the violin. Inside the violin’s sound box is concealed a small wooden dowel called the sound post. Another name for that component is âme, the French word for “soul.” It is for this reason the sound post is often referred to as the soul post. This small dowel is critical to amplifying the sound of the violin by conducting the vibration of the strings transferred by the bridge through the top of the instrument down to the back plate. Without the sound post, a “soulless” violin is powerless to produce sound.
The word alma from the Spanish dedication may be interpreted as a coded reference to the innermost part of a violin, its soul post. This connection would account in part for Elgar’s selection of that particular literary fragment for his dedication. As previously observed, the label of Kreisler’s violin located next to the sound post unveils the secret friend’s name in Italian: Gesù (Jesus). Remarkably, that name is preceded by “del”, the same word in the original Spanish epitaph cited by Elgar to denote the masculine gender of his once deceased friend. Just as the grave could not hold the soul of the licentiate in Lesage’s parable, neither could the tomb imprison Jesus for more than three days and three nights before his miraculous resurrection according to Roman Catholic doctrine.
The literary context of Elgar’s Spanish epitaph robustly hints at a concealed message akin to the Latin note and some hidden treasure. It was formerly mentioned that Elgar’s pliable translation of the Spanish dedication suggested a coded missive. This suspicion is reinforced by Elgar’s lifelong passion for cryptography. What could possibly be the secret message and clandestine riches lurking behind the mysterious dedication to Elgar’s violin concerto? The most obvious answer would be the identity of his secret friend, for true friendship is one of life’s great treasures.
What sort of cipher would Elgar expertly weave into the secretive dedication to his violin concerto? His English translation of the Spanish epitaph is not a precise match with the literal meaning, suggesting that his rendering hides an enciphered message. One possible mechanism is suggested by a cryptogram in the first bar of the Enigma Theme. In that opening measure, seven performance directions produce an acrostic anagram of “EE’s Psalm.” There are precisely 46 characters in that cipher, a sum that suggests the 46th chapter of the Book of Psalms. That chapter is known as “Luther’s Psalm” as it inspired his most famous hymn, Ein feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress). The purpose of touching on that particular cryptogram is to highlight a clever method of encipherment deployed by Elgar prior to the inception of his Violin Concerto.

Could Elgar's translation of the Spanish dedication harbor yet another acrostic anagram? The epitaph suggests the dedication conceals the identity of the covert dedicatee and that it may be uncovered by exhuming the answer. Towards that end, let us begin digging. The first letters of Elgar's translation are “HIETSO” as shown by capitalized bold letters:
  1. Herein
  2. Is
  3. Enshrined
  4. The
  5. Soul
  6. Of
When treated as an acrostic anagram, these six initials may be rearranged as IHSOTE. The first three letters (IHS) present a famous Christogram that comes from the first three letters of “Jesus” in Greek (ΙΗΣΟΥΣ). This same Christogram appears on the labels of Guarneri’s legendary violins. IHS also conveys the Latin phrase “Jesus Hominum Salvator” (Jesus, Savior of Men). In the classical Latin alphabet, “I” is the equivalent of “J.” Remarkably, Latin is the same language found on the licentiate’s note in Lesage’s parable. The IHS Christogram appears on the Jesuit emblem. Elgar inscribed the initials of the Jesuits' Latin motto (A. M. D. G.) as a dedication for his major sacred works.
The S from IHS overlaps with the remaining three letters of this acrostic anagram (SOTE) to form a nearly complete spelling of Soter, the Greek word for Savior. The absent “r” may be interpolated based on the Latin rendering of IHS that concludes with the same word “Salvator” (Savior). The Spanish epitaph is cut off, and likewise is this decryption with the r missing. Just as the life of Christ was cut short, so rather symbolically is this decryption of Soter. The acrostic anagram IHS and SOTE(R) are Greek in origin. It is interesting that the spelling of that ancient language involves “ee” — the initials for Edward Elgar.

Elgar’s library housed as many as 100 religious texts ranging from diverse translations of the Bible, biblical commentaries, and other theological texts that he carefully consulted to produce the librettos for his sacred oratorios.[16] With such a broad array of resources at his disposal, Elgar was well versed in theology. These resources undoubtedly provided spellings and translations of Greek terms as the bulk of the New Testament was written in that language. These coded theological allusions are consistent with Elgar’s intimate familiarity with the scriptures. Violinist Billy Reed consulted extensively with Elgar during the writing of the Violin Concerto, and he readily acknowledged that Elgar’s “. . . knowledge of the Bible and the Apocrypha was profound.”[17]
There is a stunning symmetry between the decryption of this first acrostic anagram and the three languages employed in its construction. This cipher is constructed in English based on Elgar's translation of Lesage’s Spanish epitaph. The languages unveiled by decoding the first acrostic anagram are Greek and Latin. Like IHS, the initials of those three languages (English, Latin, and Greek) produce a three-letter abbreviation of Elgar as another acrostic anagram. The absent “r” required to complete the spelling of “SOTE” as Soter also enables a phonetic rendering of Elgar when combined with the abbreviated version of his name (ELG-R). Elgar's initials and name permeate this cipher in a manner that furnishes a stealth form of authentication.
A phonetic realization of “Elgar” as “ELG-R” bears his cryptographic fingerprints. This is the case because his correspondence harbors inventive phonetic spellings. Some notable examples are listed below:
  1. Bizziness (business)
  2. çkor (score)
  3. cszquōrrr (score)
  4. fagotten (forgotten)
  5. FAX (facts)
  6. frazes (phrases)
  7. gorjus (gorgeous)
  8. phatten (fatten)
  9. skorh (score)
  10. SSCZOWOUGHOHR (score)
  11. Xmas (Christmas)
  12. Xqqqq (Excuse)
  13. Xti (Christi)
A second anagram was uncovered by Wayne Packwood, a cryptographer and fellow member of the Elgar Society. He perceptively recognized that the initials “HIETSO” are also an anagram of “I” and “ETHOS.” As previously observed, “I” is the first letter in the Greek and Latin spellings of Jesus. That same initial is also the Roman numeral for number one. Ethos is the Greek word for “spirit.” Ethos is defined as “the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.”[18] The phrase “I ETHOS” may read as “One Spirit,” an expression found in the books of Ephesians and First Corinthians.[19] When reversed as “ETHOS I,” this permits an interpolation as “Spirit [of] J[esus]”. That exact phrase is found in the Pauline Epistle of Philippians.[20] Another parallel interpretation is the “Spirit [of] Christ” that appears in the New Testament books of Romans and First Peter.[21]

The initials “HIETSO” may also be reshuffled to produce “I THEOS”. The first letter is the Roman numeral for the number one as well as the initial for Jesus in Greek and Latin. Theos is the Greek word for God. Consequently, “I THEOS” may be read as “One God.” Alternatively, it may also be interpolated as “J[esus] God.” According to Roman Catholic doctrine, Jesus is the physical incarnation of God in human form. These decryptions are mutually consistent with the preceding Greek and Latin anagrams with intersecting Christian meanings.

Elgar's English rendering of Lesage's Spanish epitaph consists of six words with 33 characters excluding spaces. These two figures are closely affiliated with the crucifixion of Christ. Roman Catholic tradition maintains that Jesus was executed on a Friday, the sixth day of the week, at the age of 33. Elgar deliberately modified Lesage’s Spanish epitaph in two places by replacing “Here” with “Herein” and “locked up” with “enshrined.” These alterations raise the number of characters by three from 30 to 33. In retrospect, it appears these changes were made to encode his covert friend’s age and the day of his death. The exploitation of the number of characters to encode another layer of related information is a feature shared by the Enigma Theme Psalm 46 Cipher described earlier.
A bag of gold coins accompanies the Latin note in Lesage’s story. Is there a golden treasure secreted away with Elgar’s covert dedication to Jesus via a Latin decryption? A contextual analysis of the dedication deftly alludes to a revealing Grecian wordplay. The ancient Greek term for “gold coin” (Chrysós) is almost identical to the Greek word for “Christ” (Chrystós). The pronunciation of those two words is virtually indistinguishable with their spellings separated by a solitary t, a symbol of the cross. Remarkably, the medieval Venetian gold ducat bears an image of Christ. Elgar’s multilingual leveraging of literature and gold coinage is extraordinary.

This analysis determined that Elgar's English translation of a fragmentary Spanish epitaph from the novel Gil Blas produces three interrelated acrostic anagrams. The first is “IHSOTE,” a well-known Christogram (IHS) that overlaps with a nearly complete Greek spelling of Savior (SOTE[R]). The second is “I ETHOS,” the Roman numeral one (I) as well as the initial for Jesus in Greek and Latin followed by the Greek word for Spirit (ETHOS). The third is “I THEOS” with an “I” followed by the Greek word for God (THEOS). Three distinct anagrams with Greek words for God (Theos), Jesus (IHS), and Sprit (Ethos) present an ineluctable Trinitarian formula.
These three acrostic anagrams in Greek and Latin overwhelmingly affirm that Jesus Christ is Elgar’s mysterious friend. Consistent with the five dots in the enigmatic dedication, that famous name consists of five letters. It is likely Elgar was motivated to embrace an anagrammatic system because of a renowned acrostic Christogram derived from the Greek phrase, “Iησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ” (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior). The first letters of those words spell the Greek word for “fish” (Ichthys). The emergence of the word Savior at the end of that Christogram is an unmistakable parallel with the first anagram “IHSOTE.” In honor of Elgar's cryptographic ingenuity, the title of this essay enciphers the acrostic anagrams “ENCODE IDEA” and “DEAD COIN EE.”
The explanatory power of this thesis is illustrated when applied to comments Elgar wrote next to a climactic moment of the Violin Concerto sketched in February 1910. Adjacent to this short-score epiphany, he enthused:
This is going to be good!
    “When Love and Faith meet
    There will be Light”
Feby 1910. Queen Ann’s Mansions.[22]
The identification of Jesus as the secret friend of that masterpiece permits a theologically nuanced appreciation of Elgar's exultant declaration. Jesus taught that only God is good.[23] The Gospel of John famously pronounces that God is Love.[24] In the Epistle of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul teaches that without faith it is impossible to please God.[25] One of the many titles for Jesus is the Light of the world.[26] Elgar’s use of words like good, Love, Faith, and Light to describe a section of his Violin Concerto reverberates with theological overtones that allude to the identity of his divine friend.
Lady Elgar’s diary records on October 9, 1910, that she and Elgar attended mass at Belmont Abbey with Charles Sanford Terry, a distinguished Bach scholar and Professor of History at Aberdeen University.[27] Belmont Abbey is a Catholic Benedictine monastery that also serves as a parish church. Following a scenic drive, they returned to Plâs Gwyn in Hereford where Elgar and Terry devoted that Sunday afternoon to proofreading parts for the Violin Concerto set to premiere the following month. Before placing the finishing touches on his homage to the “king of instruments”, Elgar received Holy Communion to commemorate his secret and most sacred friend, the King of kings.


I am deeply indebted to Arthur S. Reynolds for providing his personal copy of Elgar by W.H. Reed. My gratitude is also due to my fellow Elgarian Wayne Packwood, a gifted cryptographer, for contributing an important breakthrough to my cryptanalysis.

About Robert W. Padgett

Mr. Padgett is an instructor of violin, viola, piano, music theory, and composition based in Plano, Texas. He studied violin with Michael Rosenker (a student of Leopold Auer) and Linda Quan, and piano with Blanca Uribe and Irma Vallecillo. He attended Vassar College where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in psychology. At Vassar, he attended courses in music theory and composition with Richard Wilson, a student of Aaron Copland. Mr. Padgett has performed for Prince Charles, Lady Camilla, Steve Jobs, George P. Shultz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gavin Newsome, Van Cliburn, Joseph Silverstein, Marcia Davenport, and William F. Buckley, Jr. In 2008 Mr. Padgett won the Max Bragado-Darman Fanfare Competition with his submission Fanfare for the Eagles. It was premiered by the Monterey Symphony under Maestro Bragado in May 2008. Tom Shone highlights Padgett’s melodic solution to the Enigma Variations in The Nolan Variations, a 2021 biography of the cinematic director Christopher Nolan. A member of the Elgar Society, Mr. Padgett is married with five children.


[1] Jerrold Northrop Moore, Elgar: A Creative Life (Oxford University Press, 1984), 43.

[2] Ibid, 44.

[3] De Cordova, Rudolph. “Illustrated Interviews: LXXXI—Dr. Edward Elgar,” The Strand Magazine 24 (May 1904): 539. Reprinted under the title “Elgar at ‘Craeg Lea,’” in Christopher Redwood, ed., An English Companion (Ashbourne: Sequoia Publishing, 1982), 118-119.

[4] Michael Kennedy, The Life of Elgar (Cambridge University Press, 2004 ), 123.

[5] Lesage, Alain-René. The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane (Edinburgh: William Patterson, 1886), xi.

[6] Ibid, xii.

[7] John 4:7-15

[8] Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:11-27



[11] Arthur S. Reynolds, “Elgar and Joachim”, The Elgar Society Journal, 2 (July 2007), 27.


[13] Reynolds, “Elgar and Joachim”, 29

[14] Leopold Auer, Violin Playing As I Teach It (New York: Dover Publications), 6.

[15] John 9:1-41

[16] Geoffrey Hodgkins, “‘Everything I can lay my hands on’: Elgar’s theological library–Part One”, The Elgar Society Journal, 2 (July 2003), 11.

[17] Reed, William Henry. The Master Musicians: Elgar (J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd, 1946), 67.


[19] Ephesians 4:4-6 and 1 Corinthians 12:13

[20] Philippians 1:19

[21] Romans 8:9 and 1 Peter 1:11

[22] Moore, Elgar: A Creative Life, 569.

[23] Mark 10:18

[24] 1 John 4:8

[25] Hebrews 11:6

[26] John 8:12

[27] Alison I. Shiel, “Charles Sanford Terry and the Elgar Violin Concerto”, The Elgar Society Journal, 6 (November 2002), 254.

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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.