"A Secret History of Words and Music"

Introduction to a website

If you enjoy being intrigued, informed, and inducted into arcane mysteries, I recommend a leisurely browse through this website, and its storehouse of essays on a miscellany of topics, as listed below, which include reviews, profiles and magazine-style items, many haunted by spooks and Freemasons, and Gothic mysteries of the Victorian Era.

Its creator claims that the site is still in development, but what is there already offers a substantial achievement of exploration, research and comment, expressed in the author's own individual style. As he himself describes it: "James Beswick Whitehead is limbering up to reveal a solution to Elgar's Enigma which he claims really works. Until he does, the site is full of the tappings on the pipes in the musical madhouse, a mosaic of facts told with an air of seeming innocence." With new ideas constantly bubbling up, and twenty years of Whitehead's music notes to draw on, this site can be re-visited at regular intervals without fear of disappointment.

A lack of modesty enables me to mention that, among the essays, are reviews of music CDs featuring the works of Australian composers, myself included.

Click here to go straight to James' site, or click on any of the titles below to go to an essay.

Chapters in the Enigma Page


1: Faces of Rigoletto, Verdi, Hugo and the cartoon dwarf Mayeux;

2: Elgar's English Twilight, the occult aspects of a Nationalist composer;

3: Altarus, a Secret Motto and the strange case of Havergal Brian;

4: John, Paul, George, Ringo & Theodor, a case of wrongful attribution?

5: The Holy City & Finnegan's Wake, the Secret life of Victorian Ballads;

6: The Song of the Bow, Conan Doyle, Arthur Machen and the Angels of Mons;

7: Tiles of Hoffmann, the Secret Life of a Manufactured Object;

8: Frauenliebe und Leben, a Creative Misunderstanding?

9: Auf dem Strom, Poetry as Machines see it, a Babelfish Translation;

10: Angelic & Satanic Mills, A Four-Part Meditation on Added Values;

11: A Nest of Conders, Spot the Ripper in a Victorian Family;

12: If it's a Cat, adding meaning to the art of André Quash;

13: Free Spirits & Material Girls, The Manichean Roots of Tragedy.

Additional URLs for the Enigma Page

Alladin's Palace: Science and Magic in the Early Days of Records and Photography

Hades' Architect & the Art-loving Monk: A Note on the Humbert de Romans Concert Hall

The Stephen Adams song-list

This essay is linked to Derek Strahans' PROFILE ON BRITISH COMPOSER STEPHEN ADAMS on this site


The Links Page


World Wide Record Review Contents Page

Editorial : The Retreat of the Majors and After

Exiles in Eden, Record Review of Jade and Revolve Issues

Embracing the Other: An Introduction to the Music of Derek Strahan


Literature for the Classical Collector

Ljuba Welitsch

Vinyl Warning or Penny Classics

Hydrophobia or why collectors should fear water


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