Variations on an original theme for orchestra op.36 'Enigma'
Type of Arrangement
Sheet Music Format
A4, Score (2) & parts (8x1=8, plus optional novice part, 1, total=9)
Structure / Movements
VI Ysobel: Andantino (last 2 bars) - IX Nimrod: Adagio
Horn 1: a - c3
Horn 2: eb - g2
Horn 3: g - ab2
Horn 4: G - eb2
Horn 5: c1 - cb3
Horn 6: d - g2
Horn 7: f - ab2
Horn 8: Eb - eb2
Horn 9 (optional novice part): bb - eb2
The so called Enigma variations op.36 are, together with the Pomp and Circumstance marches, Edward Elgar’s most famous work. It is a set of 14 variations for orchestra, each referring to one of Elgar’s close friends (but some never discovered thus far). Out of the 14, “Nimrod” is the best known, and so it was only a matter of time until it was arranged for horn ensemble.
Jones does not use the original key, but transcribes the orchestral E flat major as horn pitch) sounding A flat major). This works very well towards the end of the movement, when c3’s and bb2’s appear in the high voices. The downside is the beginning, with g2 in the piano section, and c3 already in the mf one. Only ensembles of considerably quality are able to do the intended crescendo from the beginning of the movement to the end.
Other than that this is a straight forward transcription of a very popular work, and as such will undoubtedly attract many advanced horn ensembles that want to include a classical favourite in their repertoire.