Mozart, Masonry and the Magic Flute



  MOZART, MASONRY, AND THE MAGIC FLUTE


                         SOL BETON, 32°, K■C■C■H■
             1307 Kettredge Court, NE, Atlanta, Georgia  30329


   ONE OF THE GREATEST composers of all times and also a Masonic
Brother was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  It is only fitting that we
pay our respects to this great Mason and musician, for Mozart, like
Goethe, Lessing, Herder, Haydn, and Wieland, belonged to the
Masonic movement.

  In fact, Mozart was so dedicated a Mason that he signed many of
his letters as "Brother."  His close friendship with Haydn is also
partly due to their common belief in Masonic principles.

   Impressions of Masonic ideals may be found in a number of
Mozart's compositions, such as the "Little Masonic Cantata", the
"Mason's Joy Cantata", the "Masonic Funeral Music" and, above all,
the opera The Magic Flute, which is considered Mozart's greatest
work and which is full of Masonic symbols.  The main theme of the
opera's overture, for instance, expresses the hewing of the "rough
stone" while the three chords in Eflat stylize the Masonic salute.

   Of the characters in the opera, the Speaker or High Priest is
taken bodily from the Masonic Ritual. The guardian of order and
discipline, he fulfills a function as Senior Warden and gives the
neophytes their first instruction.

  The number three is of great significance in the opera.  For
example there are the three Ladies, the three Genii, and in the
libretto there is a  reference to the three supporting "pillars" of
Freemasonry─wisdom, strength and beauty.

  Also, there is the lineup of 18 priests,  a  reference to  the
Eighteenth Degree of the Masons.  The priests stand with their
hands crossed on their breasts as prescribed in the Rose Croix
Degree.

   In the background, displayed in the settings are a ladle,
hourglass and compass; and above the entrance to the sacred temple
is the five-pointed "Blazing Star" with the letter G in its
center─all symbolic insignia familiar to Masons. Then in the
dialogue between Tamino and the Priest, Masonry is referred to as
an exclusively male craft.

   Also, the following lines sung by Tamino, the hero of the opera,
undoubtedly reflect the symbolic journey of the "blind" Masonic
initiate:  "When, endless night, wilt thou be riven;  When will the
light to me be given."

   Three questions are asked by the high priest Sarastro─whether
Tamino (the neophyte) has virtue, is discreet, and practices
charity. These correspond literally to the commands of Masonry.

    Tamino and his companions are then led into the large anteroom
of the temple, and the speaker is asked to instruct the neophyte in
his human duties.  Clearly, the opera's initiation rites are
associated with the practices used in the Masonic lodge,
especially in the opera's scene of trial by fire and water.

   Then the three E-flat major chords played by the horns mark the
consent of the priests to receive Tamino into their ranks. They
are the exact musical portrayal of the three handclaps of the
first Degree in the Austrian Lodges.

   They are used in the overture and in a somewhat altered form
appear in the prelude of the scene of the Armored Men.  The entire
score of the priests' scene is ritualistic and has deep
philosophical significance both in the opera and in the Craft.  It
is not surprising that The Magic Flute, which embodies in
dramatic form the symbolic rituals and practices of Free-
masonry, moved even Goethe.

   By the charm of Mozart's art these fundamental human values and
tenets received new artistic form.  Without a doubt, Mozart─ the
man and the Mason─appears in  The Magic Flute as  a  result of his
high esteem for Masonic ideals and practices.

[Editor's Note:  Since Brother Mozart was born on January 27,
1756, and 1991 marks the 200th anniversary of his death on
December 5, 1791, it is appropriate that this January 1991 issue
of The Scottish Rite Journal features  three articles about Brother
Mozart and a back cover relevant to Austrian Freemasonry.]


Brother Beton, an artist, writer, teacher, historian and choir
singer, is Past Master of Fulton Lodge, No. 216. Various examples
of his artistry and portraits are held in private collections
around the country.



"Who Did Not Love Him, Our Worthy Brother, Mozart?"

[An oration given in Mozart's own New Crowned Hope Lodge in 1792 to
commemmorate his passing.]

   "It has pleased the everlasting Master Builder to tear our
beloved Brother from the chain of our brotherhood.  Who did not
know him? Who did not value him?  Who did not love him, our worthy
Brother, Mozart?  Only a few weeks ago he stood in our midst, and
with the magic tones added such beauty to the dedication of our
Masonic Temple.  Mozart's death brings irreparable loss to his art;
his talents which were apparent in his earliest youth made him even
then the greatest marvel of his time.  Half Europe values him.  The
great called him their favorite, Liebling, and we called him
Brother.  But while we must of necessity reveal his powers in Art,
we must not forget the praise due to his great heart.  He was a
most enthusiastic follower of our Order.  Love for his Brethren,
sociability, enthusiasm for the good cause, charity, the true and
deep feeling of pleasure when he was able by means of his talents
to help one of his Brethren, these were the chief features of his
character.  He was husband, father, friend to his friends. Brother
to his Brethren, these were the chief features of his character.
Only the wherewithal was wanted to hinder him from making hundreds
happy, as his heart bade him."

        From William K. Denslow, 10,000 Freemasons, 1959, Vol. 3,
        Page 243