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Sheet Music: Nimrod

TitleNimrod
from Enigma Variations
Alternate titlesVariation IX
Opus numberOp. 36
ComposerEdward Elgar (1857–1934)
InstrumentationFlute and Piano
KeyE-flat major
RangeEb4–Eb6
Time signature3/4
Tempo52 BPM
Performance time2:30
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (105 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (7 kB) (change tempo) MP3 (1.8 MB)
Play-along accompanimentMIDI (5 kB) (change tempo) MP3 (1.8 MB)
Date added2009-12-09
Last updated2009-12-09
Categories20th century, Funeral music, Variations

Performances

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Wednesday 9 December 2009

Tune of the Day: Nimrod

from “Enigma Variations” by Sir Edward Elgar

The Enigma Variations are a set of a theme and its fourteen variations written for orchestra by English composer Edward Elgar in 1898–1899. It is Elgar's best-known large-scale composition, for both the music itself and the enigmas behind it. Elgar dedicated the piece to “my friends pictured within”, each variation being an affectionate portrayal of one of his circle of close acquaintances. In the score each variation is prefaced with either a nickname or initials, a clue to the identity of the friend depicted.

Variation IX carries the name “Nimrod”, a punning reference to the Old Testament patriarch described as “a mighty hunter before the Lord”. Now, the german word for “hunter” is Jaeger, and that's why the name “Nimrod” refers to Augustus J. Jaeger, a music editor who was for a long time a close friend of Elgar, giving him useful advice, but also severe criticism, something Elgar greatly appreciated. Remarkably Elgar later related on several occasions how Jaeger had encouraged him as an artist and had stimulated him to continue composing despite setbacks.

This variation has become popular in its own right and is sometimes used at funerals, memorial services, and other solemn occasions. It is always played at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday in November).