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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Beethoven and the Freemasons

"Through the Lens of Freemasonry: The Influence of Ancient Esoteric Thought on Beethoven's Late Works," a doctoral dissertation by Brian Gaona, available here, discusses the influence of the masons and secret societies (including the Illuminati) upon Beethoven, and then discusses how those influences can be seen in three late works: Bagatelle, op. 119, No. 7, the Piano Sonata in C minor, op. 111 (e.g., Piano Sonata No. 32, the final one), and the String Quartet in C-sharp minor, op. 131 (No. 14.)

I don't know the bagatelle yet, but the final piano concerto is quite famous and has a jazzy passage well ahead of its time. The 14th Quartet is a long, interesting work; according to Wikipedia it was the composer's favorite late quartet.

Gaona is a cellist. The dissertation was written at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the settings for Richard Powers' novel, The Gold Bug Variations, which features a character who listens to the Glenn Gould recording of Bach's "Goldberg Variations" over and over again; Powers is an English professor at the school. Noted composer Steven Andrew Taylor also is on the faculty there (I have one of Taylor's albums, "The Machine Awakes.")

Hat tip: Ted Hand.

1 comment:

michael said...

Thanks for the link to the 14th Quartet. I clicked on it, thinking it would be info ABOUT it. I ended up dropping everything I had goin' on and just sat and listened to the whole thing w/my eyes closed. Best part of my day!