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Saturday, September 23, 2023


Pieter Scholtz and friends invite patrons to a book launch. Elgar’s Secret Lover by Chris Nicholson, author, scholar and retired judge on October 2, 2023. Nicholson will read, share Elgar’s music and discuss this musical thriller about British composer, Sir Edward Elgar: his loves, his life and secret muse in the creation of his masterpiece, the Enigma Variations.

About the book: When old friend Arnold Chater Q C sends retired Norwegian Judge Christofferson a yellowing manuscript with the mysterious initials G B on the first page, the latter starts a quest to seek the truth about British composer Sir Edward Elgar’s secret muse in his masterpiece, the Enigma Variations, and whether he fathered an illegitimate child.

Fascinated with riddles and puzzles, the composer was in the habit of leaving a series of codes denoting the inspiration for his timeless compositions. But in the Enigma Variations, Elgar forsook his usual practice of inserting initials to honour his muse, explicitly refusing to name his great love by using a mysterious ellipsis. Cheekily, he gives a clue about his inspiration in the violin concerto with the words, “Here is enshrined the soul of …”

Nicholson’s seminal musical thriller, Elgar’s Secret Lover weaves an amazing tale with enigmas piled on riddles. Nicholson flagrantly delights in leading readers on a breathless chase of the women who were extraordinarily important in Elgar’s life.

At the same time, he also unmasks Elgar as a man who hid himself and his intimate affairs behind a mask of respectability.

Nicholson is merciless in the details of Elgar’s life, loves and music, deciphering all the clues and delivering the final judgment as only he can.

“Christopher Nicholson’s book about the great English composer Sir Edward Elgar is as enthralling as it is illuminating… [it] is an important contribution not just to our thinking about Elgar, but also to the extant literature about artists and their muses.” — Christopher Ballantine, LG Joel Professor of Music Emeritus and University Fellow, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Copies of Elgar’s Secret Love by Chris Nicholson will be on sale at a special introductory price of R150 per copy. Or enjoy Nicholson’s special offer: “Buy two and pay for both.”   Message from Val, who will handle book sales: “Please bring cash!”

Chris is the author of six previously published books including Papwa Sewgolum, from Pariah to Legend; Permanent Removal: Who Killed the Cradock Four; and The Level Playing Field (An inspirational account of Pietermaritzburg’s Aurora Cricket Club).

If you buy the book, feel welcome to ignore the donations box. Otherwise, as is the norm, please drop in least R50 per person. St Clements plans to have this event outdoors. If it’s chilly, remember to dress warmly. If it rains, they will need to set up indoors.

Bookings limited to diners in support of St Clements restaurant and staff. They stay open specially for the Mondays @ 6 at St Clements events.

Table Bookings Essential: RSVP ST Clements 031 202 2511

Be there in time to order before the performance, scheduled to start at 18h00.

Please cancel if you book then can’t make as they often close booking due to space constraints — and this one is sure to be fully booked.