In October of 1898, Edward Elgar returned home after a long day of teaching, ate dinner, then sat down at the piano to doodle on the keys. Elgar described what followed: “In a little while, soothed and feeling rested, I began to play, and suddenly my wife interrupted by saying: ‘Edward, that’s a good tune.’ I awoke from the dream. ‘Eh! Tune, what tune!’ And she said, ‘Play it again, I like that tune.’ I played and strummed, and played, then she exclaimed: ‘That’s the tune.’ The voice of [my wife] asked with a sound of approval, ‘What is that?’ I answered, ‘Nothing – but something might be made of it.’” This tune is what became the theme to one of the greatest works in the orchestral repertoire, VARIATIONS ON AN ORIGINAL THEME or the ENIGMNA VARIATIONS. Elgar called the variations "Enigma," not to be thought of as a riddle so much as a "dark saying [that] must be left unguessed.," though he also hinted that a hidden melody is also embedded within the music. Each of the fourteen variations functions as a musical caricature of a specific friend, starting with his wife Alice ("C.A.E."), and ending with himself ("E.D.U."). Variation No. 9, "Nimrod" is a caricature of Augustus J. Jaeger. The work premiered in 1899 at St. James Hall in London, conducted by Hans Richter, and acheived immediate popularity, establishing Elgar's international reputation. Istrumentation: 184.108.40.206+CBsn: 220.127.116.11: Timp: Str (9-8-7-6-5 in set).