Today’s choice for the much loved work by English classical music composers sits at number 10 in the Classic FM’s Hall of Fame.
I imagine many of you may have guessed that one of the pieces would surely be ‘Nimrod’ by Edward Elgar. Elgar composed his fourteen Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, popularly known as the Enigma Variations, between October 1898 and February 1899. The most popular of the fourteen of the Enigma Variations is IX Nimrod, and is the one I’ve chosen. With over 60 recorded performances it’s no easy task to select one – though having to be available on YouTube does cut down that number considerably.
Beginning with a sense of sadness, the soaring melody overcomes that, and even though it retains a solemnity throughout, it’s ending is one of peace, hope and reflection. I’ve chosen Sir Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in Japan in 2004. Sir Colin seems to channel an inner sadness to conduct the piece, whatever, it’s a majestic performance.