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Hermetic Music

Introducing music inspired by hermetic ideas.

In 1784 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was initiated into the Viennese Masonic lodge ‘Zur Wohltätigkeit’. Because Freemasonry, due to its freethinking tendencies, was highly suspect in those days, he decided to write an opera which would put the so-called Craft in a more positive light. His Masonic brother Emanuel Schikaneder wrote the libretto.

The Magic Flute, actually a ‘Singspiel’, with spoken words in addition to the arias, is a story about seeking inner wisdom and light that conquers the dark. Seeing a portrait of Pamina, the Queen of the Night’s daughter, the young hero Tamino falls in love with her. The Queen of the Night promises Pamina to him if he can rescue her from the clutches of the evil Sarastro. Tamino decides to do so. He discovers, however, that Sarastro is not evil, but a wise high priest (modeled on Zoroaster), who protects Pamina from her mother who wants to rule the world. Before Tamino can be united with Pamina, Sarastro imposes on him three tests - resembling Masonic initiation rites. The opera is laden with Masonic themes, especially number symbolism. The ouverture opens in the key of E flat major, a typical Masonic key, because its three flats symbolise the triad which is an important element in Freemasonry. The number three is woven throughout the opera: three knocks in the ouverture, three Ladies, three Boys and many examples of triple rhythms.

Watch the full opera (with English subtitles) here:
Source: Jamie James, De muziek der sferen, Bres BV 1997
Image: The arrival of the Queen of the Night. Stage set by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for an 1815 production
#HermeticMusic #Mozart #Freemasonry
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