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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart needs little introduction. A prolific and influential classical composer, he composed many of his finest symphonies, concertos, and operas in Vienna. Although he died at the incredibly young age of thirty-five, Mozart composed more than 600 works, and his contribution to classical music is perhaps unrivaled.
Towards the end of his short life, we know that Mozart was a proud and committed Freemason, and it is thought that the Craft influenced many of his finest pieces of music.
He was initiated into a Viennese Masonic lodge called ‘Zur Wohltatgkeit’ in December 1784, and became a Master Mason shortly after the beginning of 1785. Shortly after Mozart became a Mason, his lodge was consolidated with two others, and he would become a member of the newly formed ‘Zur Neugekronten Hoffung.’
He was known to attend meetings at various Masonic lodges in Vienna, and he was warmly welcomed given his prominence and acclaim in the music industry. Many of Mozart’s friends and acquaintances were Masons, and he is known to have placed high value on the contribution the Craft made to his life. Mozart also encouraged his father to become a Mason on a visit to Vienna in 1785.
Mozart subscribed to a rationalist, enlightenment-inspired stance on Freemasonry, and was heavily influenced by the works of prominent French philosophers Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Denis Diderot. One of the critical beliefs harbored by rationalist Freemasons at the time was that social rank was not coincident with nobility of the spirit, and people of lower classes could rise to prominence and good fortune.
The enlightenment-inspired Freemasons also used music in their ceremonies, which was played to spread positive thoughts and high spirits amongst the attendees. Naturally, brother Mozart was more than willing to create and play music for his Masonic peers. His humanist composition style is in accord with his Masonic values and principles.
You can find a detailed list of the Mozart’s Masonic music here. While it may not be appropriate to play it at your lodge meetings, you might find it inspiring to download a couple of his compositions onto your phone, so you can listen in your own time.
Mozart’s untimely death at the age of thirty-five has been long debated and mythicized. Although new evidence suggests that a Vitamin-D deficiency led to a host of infections that contributed to his passing. Regardless of the exact circumstances of his death, Brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the most well-respected figures in the history of classical music.
He leaves behind a wonderful legacy of Masonic compositions that we can enjoy while reflecting on his astonishing life.