Mozart and the Masons


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 connected 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.