Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – The Complete Masonic Music

   One of interesting facts in biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is his relation to freemasonry. He was known as active member of the lodge, but in 18th century Europe it was not uncommon. In peak moment of Enlightenment it was really hard to find somebody who was publicly active and did not belong to any freemasonic tribe. In fact almost all significant composers of classical and romantic periods were freemasons. But in case of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart it was somehow unique. He was devoted to promote in his works freemasonic symbols along with values such as truth, morality and brotherly love. He was recollecting ideas of freemasonry in significant part of his works, also these which were not intended for use in lodge. Probably the most famous example is the opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), where Mozart along with librettist Emanuel Schikaneder, who was his lodge brother, created allegoric vision of mankind progression from animalism, through fallacy of religious beliefs, to Enlightenment and rationalism.
   The intellectual content of The Magic Flute is clear, but since sometimes references are much more discrete it is hard to clearly assess many of Mozart’s works as Masonic. The method of selecting works to the collection called Die komplette Freimaurermusik (The Complete Masonic Music) was to take into account only works used in loge or composed for loge commission. Published in 1968 by FSM double album was published the same year also in US under Turnabout label and republished under FSM Vox label (FSM 33 006/7) in 1992 as CD. Unlike some earlier productions, the collection of Masonic music conducted by Peter Maag was definite and complete. The idea was to publish all Mozart’s music connected to Masonic rites by its origins or by tradition. The collection is arranged chronologically.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – The Complete Masonic Music (1968)

   The collection is arranged chronologically. Oldest piece is Psalm 129 “De profundis clamavi” for choir and orchestra KV 93, composed in 1771 when Mozart was 15 years old. Second position is song for tenor and piano O heiliges Band der Freundschaft KV 148, composed in 1772. These early works were composed not for Masonic order but later were adopted for use in the loge. The same with Graduale “Sancta Maria, mater Dei” KV 273. First three recordings on first side of first record were composed before Mozart has become freemason, next few works were clearly written by commission. Canon and Adagio F Major KV 410 for two basset horns and fagot and Adagio B-flat Major KV 411 for two clarinets and three basset horns. Next side is clearly music of freemasonry, two cantatas “Dir, Seele des Weltalls” KV 429 and “Die Maurerfreude” KV 471, Masonic song “Die ihr einem neuen Grade” KV 468 and Maurerische Trauermusik C Minor KV 477 famous as one of the best classical funeral music – all are compositions written intentionally for loge in Vienna.
   Second record comprises series of Masonic lodge vocal music, songs and cantatas and two famous instrumental compositions – Adagio and Fugue C Minor from String Quartet KV 546 and Adagio C Minor and Rondo C Major for Flute, Oboe, Viola, Cello and Celesta KV 617. Peter Maag who was member of Great Loge “Mozart” has prepared these performances for 1966 jubilee celebrations. Singers were tenor Kurt Equiluz, boy soprano Franz Ellmer, tenor Rudolf Resch and baritone Leo Heppe. The main piano and organ accompanist was Kurt Rapf. In chamber performances participated violinists Paul Roczek and Peter Katt, viola player Jürgen Gise and cellist Wilfried Tachezi, flutist Herbert Weissberg, oboist Manfred Kautzky, clarinetists Alfred Rose and Josef Ortner, basset horn players Richard Schönhofer, Erich Webner and Horst Hajek and peter Maag playing celesta. In cantata and orchestral music attended Choir and Orchestra of Wiener Volksoper conducted by Peter Maag. This is unique complete with deep cover information. Five stars, one for information content and four stars for artistic quality of this double album.

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