97. 13 August 1996 [ES] (Elgar's Violin Concerto and Gil Blas; Edward Sams and Eric III)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs. Mathew’s letters)

Dear Hayat,


   I wondered whether you could kindly find time to help me with my Spanish?

   I’m planning a piece on Elgar, whose Violin Concerto bears the sub-title


   Aqui està encerra el alma de .... .


   But the biographies quote this (rightly?) as 'encerrada' and cite Lesage, Gil Blas. 'To the Reader', where the story is told of the two students and the inscription on the stone by the spring: 'Aqui està encerrada el alma del licenciado Pedro Garcias'.

   Is the title-page misprinted?

   In whatever form, what is the meaning of this phrase? Elgar explicated it thus, in a letter: 'Here, or more emphatically in here is enshrined or simply enclosed – burial is perhaps too definite –  the soul of .....? The final 'de' leaves it indefinite as to sex or rather gender. Now guess.

   The lady in question has long been identified as Alice Stuart-Wortley, otherwise known (at least to Elgar' rather charmingly) as Windflower. But what intrigues me is the exact sense of the Spanish words.

   But don't let me be a nuisance.

   It may divert you to know that I'm quoted, more or less accurately, in the Daily Telegraph Saturday feature Sayings of the Week. thus 'The established view that Shakespeare wrote almost nothing until he was 28, when he began writing on an accomplished level' is as ludicrous as saying that Mozart wrote nothing until he was 30 and then wrote Don Giovanni'.

   This is attributed (such is fame) to one 'Dr Edward Sams'. No doubt it was he who edited Shakespeare's Eric III.


   Best, as ever,

   Yours Eric