Calling all conspiracy theorists

I came from an intoxicating rehearsal of the Mozart Requiem this morning (if you’ve ever sung the “Rex tremendae” with a huge, well-tuned chorus after listening to four nearly perfect soloists hit the “Tuba mirum” out of the park, you know what I mean). This afternoon I was startled to come across a suggestion that the piece is not just intoxicating but subversive. A reviewer on Amazon writes that the piece incorporates “Freemason music” (look for the review called “The All Time Best Mozart Requiem”). In a word, huh?

Turns out it’s not that far fetched. Mozart was a Freemason, a member of the lodge “Zur Wohltätigkeit” (Benefaction) and a Master Mason for the last six years of his life, and many of his works contain what some have described as overt Masonic symbolism, such as the three chords in the opening of the Magic Flute. But the only case I can see for giving credence to the Masonic symbolism suggestion for the Requiem is its echoes of the orchestration of the Magic Flute. Not much to hang a conspiracy theory on.

But I was amused to learn of one non-Masonic connection in Mozart’s work: the scatological, as evidenced by his six (or three) part canon, “Leck mich im Arsch” (K. 231 or 233, also known as the “Kiss My Ass” canon). You won’t hear that on WCRB…