Because of its optimistic nature Symphonie n° 8 (1890), composed by the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904), is a completely different work than his former compositions. It is lyrical, improvisational and full of themes and influences from het Bohemian folk music. The powerful final in particular gives evidence of the passion Dvorak wanted to express in this symphony.
The Variations on an Original Theme for Orchestra op. 36 from Edward Elgar (1857-1934), better known as the Enigma Variations, comprises a theme with fourteen variations, composed by Elgar in 1898 and 1899. Each variation is a miniature musical portrait of a person from the near environment of the composer, but Elgar does not reveal more than their initials and a “pet name”. The musical extract does not only depict the different personalities, but it also reveals certain characteristics or even anecdotes. In the eighth variation, for instance, we hear the laughter of “W.N.” (presumably Winifred Norbury, landlady of an eighteenth century estate), in variation n° 10 the stutter of “Dorabella” (most probably Dora Penny, whose stepmother was a dear friend of Elgar’s wife). Which character is hidden behind each variation is a first ‘enigma’ or riddle that Elgar creates to entertain the listener. Besides that, there is also the artistic quest for the original theme. Although the piece starts with a ‘theme’, it is only its contrapuntal or harmonic print; the theme itself is never heard. The variations as well are mere reflections, references to the theme that until today remains unknown.
The Enigma I will not explain – its 'dark saying' must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the connection between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme 'goes', but is not played...
Dvorak Symphony nr. 8
Variations on an Original Theme for Orchestra op. 36 (Enigma) Elgar
LUCA organizes about 25 concerts every year. Solo recitals, chamber music, choral and orchestral works as well as the large symphonic repertoire from a period spanning more than four centuries are alternately discussed.
In addition to these concerts, you can also regularly see students at work during bachelor's and master's theses and on concert theses. These are freely accessible to the public.