Sunday, October 1, 2017

Elgar's Dual Initials Enigma Cipher

Whenever I had the opportunity of hearing Joachim play, 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.

There are three names openly referenced in connection with the Enigma Variations that invite being categorized as a distinct subset because they possess dual initials.  As the composer, Edward Elgar takes precedence as the first in this discrete group with the double initials E. E. The second is specifically mentioned by Elgar in the original 1899 program note, the poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck with the matching initials M. M. The third appears at the conclusion of the original Finale where Elgar paraphrases the renowned Italian Renaissance poet Torquato Tasso whose initials are T. T. In all, there are three names with dual initials overtly identified in association with the Enigma Variations: The composer Edward Elgar, the playwright Maurice Maeterlinck, and the poet Torquato Tasso.
A fourth name with matching initials is covertly implicated by a music cipher in Variation XIII. This relatively simple cryptogram is constructed from the putatively extraneous Mendelssohn fragments drawn from his concert overture Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Journey). These fragments are framed in the contrasting keys of A flat major, F minor, and E flat major. The key letters F-A-E are a noteworthy music cryptogram sourced from the initials of the German romantic motto, “Frei aber einsam.” The translation of that phrase is, “Free but lonely.” It was popularized by the renowned 19th-century violinist Joseph Joachim, a protégé of Mendelssohn who conducted his London debut with the Royal Philharmonic Society during May 1844 in a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. From that time until his death in 1907, Joachim remained a favorite of British audiences. It is exquisitely appropriate and fitting that Elgar would encode Joachim’s motto using his mentor’s music. This FAE Mendelssohn Cipher reveals the fourth and final set of double initials (J. J.) for Joseph Joachim.
It is extraordinary that Joachim’s initials precisely match those of an alias adopted by Martin Luther when he was forced into hiding at Wartburg Castle.  To conceal his identity, Luther exchanged his austere priestly attire for that of a wealthy noble, assuming the name Junker Jörg (Knight George). Luther composed Ein feste Burg, the battle hymn of the Reformation. There is mounting cryptographic and contrapuntal evidence that this heroic hymn is the covert Theme to the Enigma Variations. While masquerading as Knight George, Luther was ensconced within the confines a literal mighty fortress. It is intriguing that at the time Elgar suddenly began work feverishly on the Enigma Variations in October 1898, he was seriously planning a major symphonic work in honor of General Gordon whose middle name happens to be George. Joachim’s dual initials clearly serve as double clues concerning both the identity of the covert Theme’s composer and its title. Mendelssohn was baptized a Lutheran on March 21, 1816, and remained a staunch adherent for the remainder of his life. Like his mentor, Joachim was also a Lutheran. Elgar’s open references to Mendelssohn and coded allusion to Joachim in Variation XIII provide compelling and multilayered references to Luther. That would explain why Elgar initially identified this movement with a solitary capital L, and only added years after the fact the letters ML, the initials for Martin Luther.
It has been shown that in connection with the Enigma Variations, Elgar makes overt references to three names with dual initials (Himself, Maeterlinck, and Tasso), and one coded reference to a fourth (Joachim) in Variation XIII. The letters for these dual initials (E. E., M. M., T. T., J. J.) do not appear to encipher any discernable plaintext message. Delving a layer deeper, the national heritages of these individuals were next considered as summarized in the table below:

Names with Dual Initials
from the Enigma Variations
Edward Elgar
E. E.
Maurice Maeterlinck
M. M.
Flemish and Belgian
Torquato Tasso
T. T.
Joseph Joachim
J. J.
Jewish and German

There is an extraordinary acrostic anagram hiding in plain sight among the initials of the nationalities of these famed personages. Five of the six initials from this particular set of nationalities precisely match those of the covert Theme’s German title: Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott. The absent U is stealthily provided by the German description for Joachim’s Jewish heritage because the German word for Jew (Jude) is pronounced “U-dah.” Phonetic spellings are a hallmark of Elgar’s unconventional writing style, something born out by his personal correspondence and the decryptions of numerous cryptograms in the Enigma Variations. For the subtitle of his rousing Finale, Elgar relied on the German rendering of his name (Eduard) for his unusual initials (E. D. U.) to phonetically reproduce the pet name “Edoo” given to him by his wife. The presence of a phonetic plaintext in the decryption of the Dual Initials Enigma Cipher bears Elgar’s cryptographic fingerprint. It is particularly significant because it relies on translating an English word into German, something also called for with the decryption of his Nimrod Wordplay Cipher.

Elgar’s Dual Initials Cipher Decryption
Dual Initial Name
Corresponding Initials
Edward Elgar
Maurice Maeterlinck
Torquato Tasso
Joseph Joachim
Jewish (“U-dah”)*
* The German word for “Jewish” is “Jude” and is pronounced “U-dah.”

Through a subset of initials distinguished by matching pairs of letters, Elgar brilliantly encodes another set of initials for the covert Theme’s title using the first letters of the attendant national and ethnic identities. This is a cleverly concealed acrostic anagram cipher. His use of four names in the Dual Initials Enigma Cipher to encode six solution letters presents a revealing numeric convergence because the title of the covert Theme originates from Psalm 46, a chapter made up of the integers 4 and 6. To learn more about the secrets behind one of Elgar’s most celebrated symphonic achievements, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Elgar's Biblical Names Cipher

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Two of the Enigma Variations stand out from the rest because Edward Elgar gave them distinctly biblical names. The first is Variation VI with the subtitle Ysobel, a derivation from the Hebrew name Elishiba which means “God’s oath.” The second is Variation IX known by the venerable subtitle Nimrod, a figure described in the book of Genesis as “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” The similarities between these two movements go deeper than the scriptural origins of their subtitles. Both of these biblical subtitles are exactly six letters in length. In addition to having scriptural subtitles with an equal complement of letters, the Roman numerals assigned to Variations VI and IX represent the numbers six (6) and nine (9). These two glyphs are mirror inversions of one another. The multilayered parallels between Variations VI and IX strongly suggest Elgar was engaged in one of his favorite pastimes: Cryptography.
The unusual choice of scriptural names for Variations VI and IX is not random. On closer inspection, it turns out to be a simple acrostic phonetic cipher.  The idea of an acrostic is subtly suggested by the opening motive of Variation VI which Elgar described “an ‘exercise’ for crossing the strings...” The first letters of Ysobel and Nimrod are Y and N. When paired together, these two letters (YN) produce the phonetic equivalent of Ein. This reading is made possible when the y is pronounced as a long i such as in the word try. The acknowledgment of a phonetic version of Ein is significant because it s the first word in the covert Theme’s title, Ein feste Burg. It is not an incidental coincidence that the first three letters of the Theme’s title (Enigma) may be rearranged to spell Ein. The Teutonic genesis of the covert Theme is plainly suggested by the recognition that Elgar directed his only German friend portrayed in the Variations to write the subtitle Enigma above the Theme.
Elgar’s use of other acrostic ciphers in the Enigma Variations amply justifies a phonetic reading of the initials YN for Variations VI and IX as Ein. In the opening measure of the Enigma Theme, the first letters of the performance directions comprise an acrostic anagram for EE’s PSALM. This is a remarkable decryption because the title of the covert Theme originates from Psalm 46. The solution to Variation XIII’s enigmatic subtitle (***) is cleverly encoded by an acrostic anagram from the initials of the adjacent movement’s subtitles for Variations XII (B.G.N.) and XIV (E.D.U. and Finale). The solution letters E. F. B. are the initials for the covert Theme’s title, Ein feste Burg. It is highly probable there other acrostic anagram ciphers have yet to be discovered in the Enigma Variations’ full score.
Another plausible phonetic interpolation of the letters YN is wine. This reading is feasible when the Y is stated as the letter followed by the sound of N. Wine is a subject closely associated with Jesus, the secret friend portrayed in Variation XIII. At the outset of his public ministry, Jesus famously turned water into wine during the marriage at Cana. On the eve of crucifixion, he celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples which provides the scriptural foundation for the Eucharist. The liquid emblem of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary symbolically flowed at both the beginning and the end of his earthly mission to impart the Gospel of God’s love, forgiveness, and reconciliation with humanity. Elgar was a Roman Catholic who dedicated the majority of his major works to God with the Jesuit motto Ad majorem Dei gloriam.
It has been shown that the phonetic descriptions of the Biblical Names Acrostic Cipher provide illuminating clues regarding the covert Theme to the Enigma Variations as well as the secret friend’s identity in Variation XIII. The construction of this cryptogram as an acrostic is not unique within the Enigma Variations as demonstrated by the Enigma Psalms and Letter Cluster ciphers. Elgar’s use of cryptography and Christian symbolism in the Enigma Variations is far more sophisticated and extensive than popularly believed by secular scholars. To learn more about the secrets behind one of Elgar’s most celebrated symphonic achievements, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Crossing References In Elgar's Enigma Variations

Nothing is more detestable than music without hidden meaning.

The concept of crossing is raised on at least two different occasions within the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar. The first occurs in Variation VI, an Andantino dedicated to his viola pupil Isabel Fitton. Elgar characterized its opening motive as “an ‘exercise’ for crossing the strings—a difficulty for beginners.” The second appears in Variation XIII where repeated quotations of a four-note fragment from Felix Mendelssohn’s concert overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage sonically portray a ship crossing the open sea. In both cases, the idea of crossing is imparted by particular musical motives cited and explicitly described by the composer.
What could be the significance of these “crossing references” in the Enigma Variations? The name Elgar bestowed on his viola pupil as the subtitle for her movement, Ysobel, originates from the Old Testament name for Aaron’s wife, Elisheba. Aaron was the brother of Moses and the first High Priest of Israel during the Exodus. The title for Variation IX, Nimrod, also heralds from the pages of Genesis. In consideration of these conspicuous Biblical references, a promising avenue of inquiry hinges on Elgar’s Roman Catholicism. In connection with the idea of crossing, it is instructive to realize that an integral and ubiquitous expression of that faith is the sign of the cross.

Sign of the cross

This tradition is decidedly ecumenical as it is practiced by Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Episcopalians, and even Lutherans. Martin Luther retained and fostered this custom as a vestige of his training as a Roman Catholic priest. Whether it is something as minute as crossing strings on a viola or as vast as a steamer crossing an ocean, these two conspicuous references to crossing in the Enigma Variations invite a careful search for covert allusions to the Christian symbol of the cross. Such an avenue of inquiry would never cross the minds of secular scholars.
A careful analysis of the Enigma Variations unveils manifold coded references to the cross. For instance, the Enigma Theme’s time signature is 4/4 which is also known as common time represented by a capital C. The word cross begins with the letter c, and that symbol has four endpoints. Like that number, there are four movements in the Enigma Variations set in common time.
Time Signature
Key Signature
Enigma Theme
G minor
1 through 19
I. C.A.E.
G minor
20 through 40
V. R. P. A.
12/8 (4/4)
C minor
165 through 188
G minor
466 through 493

It is remarkable that the pattern for conducting common time replicates the sign of the cross.
How to conduct common time

The symbol for common time is a capital C which represents a broken circle. In early music notation, a circle represented tempus perfectum or perfect time with three beats. A broken circle stood for tempus imperfectum or imperfect time with four beats. The word cross begins with the letter c, and a cross has four endpoints. The wafer of bread used in the Eucharist is traditionally circular, and it is broken during the ritual to symbolize the breaking of Christ’s body on the cross. There is another cryptographic link between the Enigma Theme and circles discovered by Richard Santa. He made the critical discovery that Elgar encoded the mathematical constant Pi (3.142) in the first bar of the Enigma Theme using the scale degrees of the opening four melody notes (3-1-4-2). The number Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

A priest holding up the circular communion bread

There are fourteen stations of the cross, and likewise, there are fourteen numbered variations. In his letters, Elgar substituted the word Christian with "Xtian." In recognition of Elgar's substitution of Christ with the letter X (an obvious symbol of the cross), the Roman numerals of Variation XIII may be viewed symbolically as the Jesuit symbol of a cross and three nails.

The application of an elementary number-to-letter cipher key to the Roman numerals XIII results in the decryption JC, the initials for Elgar’s not-so-secret friend, Jesus Christ. X represents the number ten, and the tenth letter of the alphabet is J. III stands for three, and the third letter is C. Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross, and Variation XIII has the subtitle Romanza which transparently provides a phonetic spelling of his executioners, the Romans.
In Variation XIII there are four Mendelssohn fragments. Two are performed in the keys of A flat major, and the remaining two are played in F minor and E flat major. The cross has four endpoints, and there are four Mendelssohn fragments in Variation XIII consisting of four notes each. The key letters (F. A. E.) of those fragments are not random, for they  are a well-known music cryptogram taken from violinist Joseph Joachim’s romantic motto, “Frei aber einsam.” Joachim’s motto means “Free but lonely,” and it may be directly linked to Elgar’s statement that the Enigma Theme captured his “sense of the loneliness of the artist.” Elgar’s encoding of the music cryptogram FAE in the Mendelssohn fragments is clearly deliberate, for it furnishes some remarkable parallels with the covert Theme. Like Joachim's three word motto, Ein feste Burg is three words in German. More significantly, the first three letters of einsam are the first word in the covert Theme’s title. The four Mendelssohn fragments are a major clue because Mendelssohn quotes Ein feste Burg in the fourth movement of his Reformation Symphony which is predominantly in common time.
The Roman numerals for the two movements (VI and XIII) with conspicuous references to crossing add up to nineteen. This is the precise number of measures for the complete Enigma Theme. This figure is significant because a detailed description of the crucifixion and burial of Christ is given in the nineteenth chapter of the book of John, the fourth Gospel. This numeric connection between the Enigma Theme’s bar length and John chapter 19 is remarkable because Elgar mentions that name in a letter to the editor of The Musical Times, F. G. Edwards. In a letter dated February 16, 1899, Elgar described how the Enigma Theme is “‘looked at’ through the personality (as it were) of another Johnny.” Like the names John and Joseph Joachim, the secret friend’s name begins with the letter J.
Like the four endpoints of the cross, four subtitles in the Enigma Variations form an acrostic of the word Frei. Elgar was an aficionado of wordplay who enjoyed crossword puzzles, puns, anagrams, acrostics, phonetic spellings, and ciphers. What makes this ordering of these four subtitles even more amazing is that it includes the Italian word for but (ma) followed by a phonetic version of einsam (eanzam). The configuration of eanzam outlines a cross with the horizontal beam symbolically placed on the subtitle Romanza. The encoding of Joachim’s motto in these four subtitles was made possibly only after the discovery of the F-A-E Cipher in the Mendelssohn fragments of Variation XIII. The discovery of one cipher facilitated the recognition and decoding of another more sophisticated anagram.

The languages of Elgar’s Frei Acrostic Cipher are German and Italian with two words spelled correctly and a third phonetically. This use of multiple languages with phonetic spellings are features of a Polybius Square Music cipher embedded in the opening six measures of the Enigma Theme. This is the Enigma Theme’s “dark saying” first mentioned in the 1899 program note for the premiere of the Variations. Elgar’s penchant for wordplay is on full display because another name for a Polybius Square is a Box cipher, so it may aptly be described as a Music Box cipher. Elgar read about the Polybius Square from a 1896 edition of The Pall Mall Gazette in the fourth installment of a series called “Secrets in Cipher.” A Polybius Square is decrypted by identifying the plaintext in a checkerboard grid resembling a chessboard. Each cell may contain a solution letter, and the decoding process involves the act of crossing because each solution letter is revealed by the intersection or crosspoint of a vertical column and horizontal row In his first biography published in 1905, Elgar bragged about solving a supposedly insoluble cipher presented at the end of that very article. That perplexing cryptogram was a Nihilist cipher, a variant of the Polybius Box cipher. Elgar’s personal copy of that article is now housed at the Elgar Birthplace Museum.
There is a particular melodic sequence in the Enigma Theme’s contrasting G major section (measures 7-11) known as a rosalia. The musical term rosalia is reminiscent of the word rosary, a beaded necklace with a cross worn by Catholics that is used during the recitations of various prayers. In German, this modulation technique is known as Schusterflecke, and was championed in the works Robert Schumann whom Elgar proudly proclaimed as “my ideal!” Schumann contributed an Intermezzo and a Finale to the four movement F-A-E Sonata for violin and piano. Elgar emulated his ideal by also including an Intermezzo (X) and Finale (XIV)  in the Enigma Variations. The sum of the Roman numerals for those movements is 24. This is the same number of letters in the complete six-word title of the covert Theme as well as the sum of the melody notes in the Enigma Theme’s opening G minor section (measures 1-6) and contrasting G major section (measures 7-11). This emphasis on the number 24 is not a coincidence, for it is encoded extensively throughout the Enigma Theme.
The cross is a symbol of mortality, and the specter of death looms over the Enigma Variations. The silence of the principal Theme is evocative of a passage from Psalm 37:17 that mentions the silence of the grave. For Elgar, there was an indelible link between music and death, for as a boy he studied musical scores at local churchyard while resting on a tombstone.  In Variation XIII, Elgar repeatedly quotes a fragment from Mendelssohn’s concert overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage (Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt) to portray a ship crossing the open sea. This sonic symbolism was inspired by the poetry of the famed German playwright Goethe whose seemingly benign image of a boat adrift on a windless sea actually depicts the stillness of death (Todesstille). In the original program note for the 1899 premiere of the Enigma Variations, Elgar likens the absent principal Theme to the mysterious protagonist who never appears on stage in various dramas by the Belgian playwright, Maeterlinck.  That absent character is death, a central element in Maeterlinck's works described as "marionette" plays as the characters rarely move. Two distinct ciphers in Variation XIII encode references to the Turin Shroud and a “Dead God,” providing further cryptographic evidence for the brutal crucifixion of Elgar’s divine friend.
In the overt references to crossing in the Enigma Variations, the prevalence of the letter C is often subtle but unmistakable. In Variation VI the string crossing figure begins with the notes G, C and E introduced first by the viola section. These three notes outline the C major chord. A beginner would play this figure in the first position on the G, C and D strings, the lower three strings of the viola. The first two Mendelssohn fragments in Variation XIII are introduced on the note C by the clarinet, an instrument whose name begins with the letter C. The first two Mendelssohn fragments descend stepwise from C, B flat to A flat, covering an interval of a major third. These fragments are accompanied by the viola section playing alternating sixths which replicate the palindromic rhythm of the Enigma Theme above a pedal tone produced by a soft timpani roll on C.  The first letter from the English title of Mendelssohn’s concert overture (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage) is also C. Of course, the marine atmosphere of Variation XIII symbolizes the sea, a word that is the phonetic equivalent of the letter C. This is the first letter in the words Christ, cross, counterpoint and cipher.
There is also a coded emphasis on the number six in connection with the crossing references in the Enigma Variations. The string crossing figure is introduced by the violas in Variation VI, and alternating sixths are played by the violas in Variation XIII below the Mendelssohn fragments. Both the number six and the letter C receive a distinctive emphasis in these crossing references. One likely explanation is that this is an amusing Elgarian wordplay because the combination of C with the number six is phonetic for “Sea sicks.” Elgar was prone to this marine malady. On his first voyage to America aboard the SS Deutschland in June 1905, Elgar suffered from a bout of sea sickness.
The concept of crossing is openly conveyed by musical motives found in Variations VI and XIII of the Enigma Variations. Elgar’s Roman Catholicism invites interpreting these crossing references as allusions to the cross. Musical and cryptographic features of the Enigma Variations lend ample credence to the effectiveness of this analytical approach. One objective of this presentation is to make the case that Elgar’s use of cryptography and Christian symbolism in the Enigma Variations is far more sophisticated and extensive than popularly believed by secular scholars who are often ill equipped to identify and decode them. To learn more about the secrets behind one of Elgar’s most celebrated symphonic achievements, read my free eBook Elgar’s Enigmas Exposed.

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.