Mozart the Mason

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
The concept of this disc makes less and less sense the more you think about it, but that doesn't stop it from being a very nicely played program of Mozart chamber music. Mozart was indeed a Freemason, and he wrote music, including "The Magic Flute," that was directly related to Masonic ideas and rituals. Two works are included on this album; one, the "Divertimento for string trio, K. 563," has a tenuous connection to Freemasonry in that Mozart wrote it for a friend, Michael Puchberg, who was a fellow Mason and often lent Mozart money. It supposedly contains patterns and proportions of threes and sixes that relate to Masonic symbolism, but groups of two and three in ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
The concept of this disc makes less and less sense the more you think about it, but that doesn't stop it from being a very nicely played program of Mozart chamber music. Mozart was indeed a Freemason, and he wrote music, including "The Magic Flute," that was directly related to Masonic ideas and rituals. Two works are included on this album; one, the "Divertimento for string trio, K. 563," has a tenuous connection to Freemasonry in that Mozart wrote it for a friend, Michael Puchberg, who was a fellow Mason and often lent Mozart money. It supposedly contains patterns and proportions of threes and sixes that relate to Masonic symbolism, but groups of two and three in Mozartian structures are as common as dirt. The other work on the album is a set of preludes and fugues for string trio; the fugues are arranged from Bach's three-part fugues from the "Well-Tempered Clavier," while the preludes are Mozart's own. What this work, which opens the album, has to do with Freemasonry is not clear; Bach was certainly no Mason. The liner notes point out that the influence of Bach's polyphony is apparent in the "Divertimento" as well, but this trait doesn't square with the "Divertimento"'s alleged links to "The Magic Flute" -- the Masonic symbolism of that opera depends on the simplicity of its musical language. So this disc contributes little to an understanding of Mozart the Mason. If you ignore the packaging, however, what's left is a very affecting performance of some Mozart works that stand somewhat outside the general run of his chamber music. The "Preludes and Fugues, K. 404a," are unique in Mozart's output, and the Canadian trio of Jonathan Crow, Douglas McNabney, and Matt Haimovitz catch the peculiar quality of Mozart's attempts to write a retrospective prelude. Their performance of the "Divertimento" is even better; it has a deliberate, reverential quality that illuminates its dense 13-minute adagio movement and actually meshes well with the supposition that the work was indeed somehow involved with Mozart's interest in the Masonic order. This unusual and intense recording of the "Divertimento" is one of the very best available. Download the album if you can, and save yourself the bizarre cover art and the labored concept.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/24/2006
  • Label: Oxingale Records
  • UPC: 800658200827
  • Catalog Number: 2008
  • Sales rank: 221,926

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Matt Haimovitz Primary Artist
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