It’s Halloween!!! My number-one favorite holiday. I spend weeks planning decorations and costumes, even for my dogs (my Pug is going to be a cowgirl this year, my Poodle a ballerina. The cats will have nothing to do with clothes). I’ve really loved the posts here at RR the last few days–paranormal Regencies, old Gothics, body-snatching. It’s been wonderfully Halloween-ish. But I wondered–what is left to blog about? Something that is both spooky and Regency.
Then someone sent me a terrific article titled “Esotericism and Western Music” by Gary Lachman. It combines so many of my favorite things–classical music (my “day job” is being an announcer at a classical music radio station), weird paranormal doings, and the Romantic period.
The article starts off with a description of Mozart attending a masquerade ball in Vienna in 1786. He dressed as a Hindu philosopher, in a turban and flowing robes, and handed out pamphlets with various puzzles and strange sayings, said to be “Fragments of the Writings of Zoroaster.” In Vienna that year, Freemasonry and groups like the Order of the Illuminati were all the trend.
Mozart became a Mason in 1784, and many of the motifs of Masonry started appearing in his work, especially “The Magic Flute” (1791). I love this opera, with all its weird themes of Darkness and Light, its hidden elements of Masonry and “Egyptian” culture and mysteries. The Illuminati was then a forbidden group, and Mozart had to conceal all this within a fluffy fairy-tale. Of course, all the wanna-be alchemists, Rosicrucians, astrologers, and esotericists could see right through it. 🙂
The Romantics who followed Mozart were also big on the connection between music and magic. Beethoven had a deep interest in “oriental mysteries” and “Indian literature.” Magical and esoteric ideas were spreading across Europe, culminating in the witchcraft of Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” and the mythical operas of Wagner.
So, whether it be the Queen of the Night’s aria or “Monster Mash,” I hope you’ll put on some scary music tonight, and have a great, Risky Halloween.