Freemason Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was initiated into the “Zur Wohltätigkeit” (“Beneficence”) Lodge in Vienna, Austria in 1784. Mozart also attended the meetings of another lodge, "Zur wahren Eintracht" ("True Concord"). An imperial decree in Austria in the wake of the Illuminati scandal (the Freimaurerpatent, "Masonic Decree" of December 11, 1785) consolidated his lodge "Zur Wohltätigkeit" with two others to become "Zur Neugekrönten Hoffnung" (New Crowned Hope). His father Leopold also joined the fraternity in 1785.
In the following years, Mozart wrote several pieces of music specifically for use in Masonic ceremonies. Unfortunately, they are obscure works, rarely performed, and almost never heard in connection with the ceremonies they were intended.
Mozart's specifically Masonic music includes:
- Lied (song) "Gesellenreise," K. 468, "for use at installation of new journeymen" (1785)
- Cantata for tenor and male chorus Die Maurerfreude ("The Mason's Joy"), K. 471 (1785)
- Masonic Funeral Music (Maurerische Trauermusik), K. 477/479a (1785)
- Two songs, K. 483 and K. 484, to celebrate the opening oflodge "Zur Neugekrönten Hoffnung" (1786)
- Cantata for tenor and piano, Die ihr die unermesslichen Weltalls Schöpfer ehrt, K. 619 (1791)
- The Little Masonic Cantata, (Kleine Freimaurer-Kantate, K. 623 (1791)
The last includes the passage, "Oh You, Our New Leaders," written for the installation of the officers of a newly constituted Lodge and was sung at the closing of the ceremonies. He completed the work on November 15th, 1791, conducting the first performance just three days later. Within two weeks, Mozart had died.
Oh you our new leaders,
We thank you now for all your faith.
Oh lead us ever on paths of virtue,
That all rejoice in the chain that ties us,
The chain that ties us unto better men
And giveth sweetness to life's chalice,
Gives sweetness to the cup of life.
And on the rungs of truth
Let us approach the throne of Wisdom,
That we may reach its holiness,
And that we of her crown may be worthy,
Of we with Charity drive out
The jealousy of the profane.
The holy adjuration we also vow:
To strive for perfection of our great temple,
To strive for perfection of our building great,
To strive for perfection of the temple, like you.
St. John’s Lodge No. 1, F.&A.M., of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, chartered in 1736, is the oldest Lodge in continuous existence in North America. The lodge will celebrate its 275th anniversary in June 2011.
On December 6th, 2010, the officers of St. John's Lodge No. 1 will be installed in a public ceremony. They will be accompanied by Portsmouth Pro Musica, a 50-person chorus, who will perform Mozart's officer installation anthem from the Little Masonic Cantata. The chorus draws its voices from the greater Seacoast area, including New Hampshire, southern Maine, and northern Massachusetts.
The installation will take place on December, 6th at 2:00 pm EST at the Masonic Temple, 351 Middle Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The free event is semi-public, and reservations are required. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.