Mozart and the Masons



                                 BOOK REVIEW

MOZART AND THE MASONS by H. C. Robbins Landon. First published in
the USA in 1983 by Thames and Hudson Inc. First paperback edition
with new preface and minor corrections, 1991. (RAH: because of the
60 illustrations it is printed on what I would call heavy smooth
paper) 72 pages. $9.95 publisher price and we will absorb (USA)
shipping but California orders must include sales tax. (CA $10.72,
out of state $9.95, foreign $10.25)

H. C. Robbins Landon, honorary Professorial Fellow of University
College, Cardiff, is one of the world's leading authorities on 18th
century music. But don't let these qualifications deter you for it
is amazingly easy and interesting to read. Particularly so if you
are interested in Freemasonry in general, Freemasonry in Austria
and life in Austria in the late 18th century.

Mozart's connection with Freemasonry from 1784 until the end of his
life is well known. "Brother Mozart of Vienna" by Frederick Smyth
is in Volume 87 of the Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.
2076, London. This included the recorded attendance of Mozart at
Masonic occasions showing no records for 1786-1791 which in itself
renders the book noteworthy. Our Past Master, Brother Lewis L.
Main, Jr., wrote about Brother Mozart.

A figure tentatively identified as Mozart appears in an anonymous
18th century painting of a Viennese Lodge meeting and the author
noticed a resemblance between the officiating Master of Ceremonies
in the scene and Haydn's famous patron, Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy.
But was the Crown Prince a Mason? If so, was he ever conncted with
Mozart's Lodge - Crowned Hope? Did the picture's symbolic content
identify the Lodge depicted as Crowned Hope?

The detective work required to answer these questions involved
seeking out contemporary lists of Lodge members, notably in the
former secret files of the Court Archives in Vienna. Professor
Landon's fascinating account shows how he was able not only to
confirm that Mozart does appear in the painting, hut also to
provide positive evidence for several other identifications,
including that of Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy. So thorough is
Professor Landon's detective work that he was able to put the date
of the painting to a period of less than two months in the year
1790, which evidence would note Lodge attendance in the above
mentioned blank period.

One question I posed to the publisher was as to the Masonic
membership of the author to which they replied that to the best of
their knowledge he was not a Freemason. This is not to discredit
the book in any way but to acknowledge that some of the most
interesting books of our time have been written by non- Masons,
witness Paul Revere and Freemasonry by Edith Steblecki, which gave
us an insight into Freemasonry in general, Freemasonry in Revere's
time, and life in that period of time, unbiased by stereotyped
Freemasonic premises, literally telling as it was, not as it was
supposed to be. Born in Blood by John J. Robinson, another
non-Mason author, is another example. His premise is debatable but
he sure has made a lot of Freemasons think, a benefit in itself.

Also note interesting bits of information such as that Empress
Maria Theresa did not approve of Freemasonry, but the Papal Bull of
1738 condemning Freemasonry was simply suppressed in Austria since
she considered this an infringement on her privileges. The Grand
Lodge of Austria was constituted because an Imperial Decree of 1781
said no spiritual or secular orders were to submit to foreign
authority nor any fees or money paid to them. - Ralph A. Herbold
Feb 1992