Nimrod from Enigma Variations, Op. 36
Composed by Edward Elgar
for Flute Choir
Arranged by Matt Johnston
Published by Alry Publications
Includes score and parts
3 Alto Flutes
2 Bass Flutes
Contrabass Flute/Contralto Flute (in G) Timpani (Eb, Bb, F) (Optional)
The Enigma Variations (Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36) of Edward Elgar is an orchestral work consisting of an original theme with fourteen variations was composed in between 1898 and 1899. The work is dedicated to “my friends pictured within,” with each variation being a musical sketch of one of his circle of close acquaintances. The most famous of all the movements, Variation IX (Nimrod), is dedicated to August Jaeger, a close personal friend of Elgar. Jaeger worked for the London music publishing house, Novello, and was a highly trusted musical adviser to Elgar.
Program Notes by Matt Johnston:
While there are already a few arrangements of “Nimrod” for flute choir in existence, my goal for this arrangement was to capture the pure essence of this particular movement, keeping the scoring as close to the original as possible. For the most part, the melody remains the same as in the orchestral version, in the same range/octave, without transposition. At times, I took some liberty to add some rests in the accompaniment, not only to emphasize phrasing, but also because I know flute players do like to breathe at times.
Because I don't like my Nimrod to be too much like a dirge, I opted for the word “Moderato.” In fact, the tempo marking at the beginnning is a compromise, between the original manuscript, which indicates “Moderato (quarter notes = 66)” and an edition published years later which indicates “Adagio (quarter note = 52).
Lastly, it should be noted that I have also arranged this work for clarinet choir, and this edition can be used in conjunction with that version. It is nearly identical, with only a slight change in measures 20-23 with the Bass Flute 1 (Clarinet 6) and Bass Flute 2 (Alto Clarinet) parts to better accomodate the ranges of the instruments.