• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Through the lens of Freemasonry: The influence of ancient esoteric thought on Beethoven's late works

Dissertation
Author: Brian S. Gaona
Abstract:
Scholarship on Ludwig van Beethoven has long addressed the composer's affiliations with Freemasonry and other secret societies in an attempt to shed new light on his biography and works. Though Beethoven's official membership remains unconfirmed, an examination of current scholarship and primary sources indicates a more ubiquitous Masonic presence in the composer's life than is usually acknowledged. Whereas Mozart's and Haydn's Masonic status is well-known, Beethoven came of age at the historical moment when such secret societies began to be suppressed by the Habsburgs, and his Masonic associations are therefore much less transparent. Nevertheless, these connections surface through evidence such as letters, marginal notes, his Tagebuch, conversation books, books discovered in his personal library, and personal accounts from various acquaintances. This element in Beethoven's life comes into greater relief when considered in its historical context. The "new path" in his art, as Beethoven himself called it, was bound up not only with his crisis over his incurable deafness, but with a dramatic shift in the development of social attitudes toward art and the artist. Such portentous social changes cannot be accounted for through the force of Beethoven's personality, or the changing role of the Viennese nobility. Many social forces were at work in the late Enlightenment period, but within this context Freemasonry assumed special importance for Beethoven. I attempt to show in this thesis that Beethoven's musical concepts were deeply enriched through the influence of Freemasonry and other types of ancient philosophical and esoteric thought. The composer integrated these concepts into his world view as well as his music. Evidence of this philosophical/musical synthesis can be seen by comparing his personal writings with certain of his compositions that reflect such thought and attitudes. Three works are examined from this point of view: the Bagatelle, op. 119, No. 7, the Piano Sonata in C minor, op. 111, and the String Quartet in C-sharp minor, op. 131.

Table of Contents

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………….…….1

Part I. The Cultural Background of Beethoven’s Life Path

Chapter 1. Zeitgeist and Freemasonry of Beethoven’s Time …………………...7 1.1 The Roots of Intellectual Revolution………………………………………….9 1.2 Orientalism and Indology……………………………………………………13 1.3 The Backdrop of Revolutionary Europe……………………………………..20 1.4 The Masonic Factor………………………………………………………….22 1.5 Related Groups……………………………………………………………….28

Chapter 2. The Masonic View of Music ………………………………………….32 2.1 Prototypical Organization of Masonic Musical Philosophy…………………34 2.2 Pythagorean and Platonic Roots……………………………………………..38 2.3 Greek Myth…………………………………………………………………..47 2.4 Judeo-Christian Concept of Esoteric Sound…………………………………48 2.5 Om……………………………………………………………………………53 2.6 Hermetic Studies……………………………………………………………..56 2.7 Mozart’s Impact……………………………………………………………...62 2.8 Musical Exegesis…………………………………………………………….67

vii

Chapter 3. Beethoven’s Specific Masonic/Esoteric Background …………….73 3.1 Bonn in the 1770s and 80s…………………………………………………...73 3.2 Beethoven’s Peculiar Social Position in Bonn……………………………….76 3.3 Beethoven’s Early Masonic Web…………………………………………….79 3.4 From Student to Professional—Bonn…...…………………………………...83 3.5 From Student to Professional—Vienna……….....…………………………..89 3.6 Masonic Motifs…………..…………………………………………………101

Part II. The Musical Consequences

Chapter 4. Bagatelle, Opus 119, No. 7 ….………………………………….…....116 4.1 Grounds for Examination………………………………………………...118

Chapter 5. Sonata No. 32 in c minor, Opus 111, Mvt. II: Arietta ...................123 5.1 Time Expansion.............................................................................................123 5.2 Exponential Thinking as “Harmonic” Thought.............................................128 5.3 “Mythic Time” Markers……………………………………………………133

Chapter 6. Quartet in c-sharp minor, Opus 131 ......……..……………………...141 6.1 Seven and Tonality……………………………………………………….142 6.2 A Rosicrucian Connection………………………………………………..151 6.3 Creation Cosmology……………………………………………………...153 6.4 Music of the Spheres……………………………………………………..165

viii

Chapter 7. Conclusions …………………………………………..…………………178 7.1 Resulting Viewpoints…………………………………………………….179

7.2 Ramifications…………………………………………………………..…182

Appendix A. Beethoven’s Mythological Readings and Personal Library ....186

Appendix B. Prominent Masons/Illuminati in Beethoven’s world ………....189

Appendix C . Timeline of Beethoven’s Masonic Interactions .…....................191

Appendix D.

Alternative Calculations Showing the Relationship between the Hebrew and Babylonian Flood Chronologies

………....195

Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………….....197

  1 Introduction

Many instances and anecdotes exist in which Beethoven expressed opinions about the power and potentiality of music that reflect a divergence from the pragmatic view adopted by many in the musical community of his time. Some of these quotations are famous, and some stem from sources less reliable than others; still, the existence of a deeper and more philosophical view of music attributed to Beethoven is comfortably agreed upon by scholars. The quotes given below reveal either a spiritual dimension of the composer’s relationship to music, or a view of the artist that stands in contrast to the musical community of his day. For instance: -I must despise the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. 1

-Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend… every real creation of art is independent, more powerful than the artist himself and returns to the divine through its manifestation. It is one with man only in this, that it bears testimony of the mediation of the divine in him. 2

-Only Art and science can exalt men to the point of divinity. …The true artist has no pride; unhappily he sees that Art has no bounds; Obscurely he feels how far                                                               1  Quoted by Bettina von Arnim, in John Crabbe’s Empire of the Mind, p. 92. See also Thayer‐Forbes, p. 502,  on the reliability of Bettina von Arnim’s reports.  See also William Kinderman, Beethoven, (new Oxford  University Press, 2009), pp. 168‐169.   2  Ibid., p. 102. 

  2 away he is from his aim, and even while others may be admiring him, he mourns his failure to attain that end which his better genius illumines like a distant sun. 3

-Prince, what you are you are by accident of birth; what I am I am through my own efforts. There have been thousands of princes and will be thousands more; there is only one Beethoven! 4

Compare this view to that of the great pedagogues and masters of the music world of the eighteenth century to which Beethoven had entered, starting with Leopold Mozart: What is slight can still be great, if it is written in a natural, flowing, and easy style—and at the same time bears the marks of sound composition. Such works are more difficult to compose than all those harmonic progressions, which the majority of people cannot fathom, or pieces which have pleasing melodies, but which are difficult to perform. 5

In his 1752 benchmark treatise, Johann J. Quantz, though less patronizing, is equally pragmatic in his view of music: Reason teaches us that if in speaking we demand something from someone, we must make use of such expressions as the other understands. Now music is nothing but an artificial language through which we seek to acquaint the listener                                                               3   Hamburger, Michael, Beethoven, pp. 114‐115, this excerpt comes from a letter Beethoven wrote from  Teplitz on July 17, 1812 with some pedagogical intent to a young admirer from Hamburg, addressed as  “Emilie”. Also, Brandenburg, Sieghard, ed., Ludwig van Beethoven: Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Band 2,  pp. 274‐275, #585.  4  Crabbe, Empire of the Mind, p. 38, in a letter to his friend and patron, Prince Lichnowsky.  Also,  Brandenburg, ed., Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Band 1, p. 290, #258.  5  Einstein, Alfred, Mozart, p. 120, from a letter from Leopold Mozart to his son, Wolfgang: August 13,  1778.   

  3 with our musical ideas. … Thus it is m ost important that the professional musician seek to play each piece distinctly, and with such expression that it becomes intelligible to both the learned and the unlearned, and hence may please them both. 6

Beethoven’s teacher, Franz Joseph Haydn, was in complete contrast to his pupil regarding the social status of the musician. His contract of employment at the House of Esterhazy stated its expectations that: [Haydn] will strictly observe not only these regulations, but all others that may from time to time be made by his highness, and that he will place the orchestra on such a footing, and in such good order, that he may bring honor upon himself and deserve the further favor of the prince his master, who thus confides in his zeal and discretion. 7

There are nevertheless roots for this apparently dramatic shift in perspective. It was not Beethoven alone who revolutionized the general perception of music, moving from a craft designed to “please the ears” or “public”, to an art whose purpose was less clear and less superficial—an art that would certainly transcend at least this mundane view of music, extending well into metaphysical and spiritual realms. While composers such as the ones above wrote with a great deal of concern for public and aristocratic taste, they nevertheless anticipated the direction in which Beethoven was to take the art. Mozart, for instance, made an attempt to support himself in the free market as a composer, though with much difficulty. Both Mozart and Haydn were also among those composers integrating themselves in an organization which was to formally                                                               6 Quantz, chap. XI.  taken from Weiss and Taruskin, Music in the Western World, p. 263.  7  Haydn’s employment contract, section 10, 1761. also taken from Weiss and Taruskin, Music in the  Western World, p. 300. 

  4 resurrect to its m embers many of the ancient lofty and metaphysical views of music as a part of a general plan to alter, perhaps even radically, social thought: Freemasonry. Lest it be doubted that Beethoven ascribed a higher spiritual goal to his art, consider the inscription from the Temple of Isis in ancient Egypt that Kant described as perhaps the most sublime of thoughts, and that Beethoven adopted from Friedrich Schiller’s essay, Die Sendung Moses, and kept under glass at his desk during most of the last decade of his life: I am everything, what is, what was, and what will be. No mortal human being has lifted my veil. The origin of Schiller’s essay, in turn, was a publication by Carl Leonhard Reinhold that was written for the Freemasons at Vienna in the 1780s. 8 Schiller, like Beethoven, was closely associated with Freemasons, even if it has never been proven that he himself was a member. While the most famous composers of the world into which Beethoven entered were for the most part hanging on to the old patronage system, their involvement in Freemasonry and its ideals pointed the way for a new view of music. The impact of such a trend cannot be underestimated. In the history of music, it is one of the most direct and significant catalysts in many aspects of the following era, the Romantic Movement. Indeed, the context in which this phenomenon of deepening and spiritualizing the art of music for its own sake can be more usefully viewed within the larger context of the modernization of the Western world. I intend to argue two major points in this dissertation. First, that Beethoven may be viewed as a sort of cultural funnel through which disparate and large-scale currents in this society become concentrated and then distilled through his musical activities. Consequently, the second                                                               8  A recent and detailed study of this and two other ancient Egyptian inscriptions embraced by Beethoven  is Beethovens Glaubensbekenntnis: Drei Denksprϋche aus Friedrich Schillers Aufsatz Die Sendung Moses,  edited with a commentary by Friederike Grigat (Bonn: Beethoven‐Haus, 2008). 

  5 item will be the ram ifications of these currents as incorporated into his music. Certain late compositions of his have integrated the esoteric currents present in the eighteenth century not only in recognizable mood or aesthetic, but in concrete compositional techniques and devices that either utilize, emulate, or symbolize concepts found primarily in the esoteric circles with which Beethoven was in contact. In almost all ways, the boldest and most substantial of these distillations and musical syntheses in Beethoven’s work occur after his emergence from a nearly barren compositional period, which ended in 1818 when the Hammerklavier was completed. From this work on, his music enters a different mode of thought. Maynard Solomon, an authority on the intersection of Beethoven biography and Freemasonry, states: …[There] appears to be a striking metamorphosis in Beethoven’s system of beliefs, proposing that a thoroughgoing transformation was under way by the years around 1810, gaining momentum as the decade proceeded, and that this eventually amounted to a sweeping realignment of his understanding of nature, divinity, and human purpose, constituting a sea change in Beethoven’s system of beliefs.” 9

This “sea change” had a major personal impact on Beethoven as these new concepts and attitudes of thought would settle and develop in him. They would then become concentrated and manifest themselves into reality, making his personal “sea change” tangible for the musical community of Europe. Compare, for instance, the extra-musical dimensions of the Ninth Symphony 10 with earlier works of that genre, which tend to appear almost formalistic and pre-                                                               9  Maynard Solomon, Late Beethoven, p. 2.  10  Authors discussing these extra‐musical dimensions include Esteban Buch, Beethoven’s Ninth: a Political  History, Solomon’s discussion of Utopian symbolism and fulfillment in his essay “Beethoven and Schiller” 

  6 determ ined in comparison. Also note the presence of such mystic and suspended psychological states 11 as well as extra-musical dimensions in the Ninth Symphony and afterward 12 as contrasted with music before that period. History allots Beethoven much credit regarding issues of musical standards and innovation, as well as artistic vision and spiritual depth. Without diminishing the composer’s remarkable feats achieved through music, it seems that to attribute his prodigious level only to his own talent, vision and drive, would be an unfair assessment in many respects. Omitting a study of circumstance and environment also puts one in danger of overlooking larger contexts that more fully explain the Beethoven phenomenon. Accordingly, we shall now turn to the unique situation into which Beethoven was born as the focus of Chapter 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                   from his Beethoven Essays, and William Kinderman’s discussion of epistemic and ontological significance  in the chapter titled “Triumph: 1822‐1824” from his Beethoven.  11  Most notably, the section of the choral finale that treats the text “Seid umschlungen Millionen…”   12  Consider, for example, Berlioz’s programatic Symphonie Fantastique, op. 14, the symphonies of Mahler  that he titled, the autobiographical monograms of Brahms’ symphonies or the suspended states of  Bruckner’s symphonies.  

  7 Part I. The Cultural Background of Beethoven’s Life Path.

Chapter 1 Zeitgeist and Freemasonry of Beethoven’s Time

A survey of commentaries on Beethoven’s work reveals a pronounced theme of the metaphysical, including morality, fate, and concern with man’s relationship to divinity, as well as optimism and humanitarianism. These characteristics are present from his earliest works through his last. We can see such trends beginning in his work even as a teenager in Bonn when he wrote a cantata to honor the passing of Austria’s enlightened despot, Joseph II. Though the Fifth Symphony, for example, operates without such overt political and social implications on a much more abstract level, it still demonstrates many of the above themes. One can see this trend developed well into Beethoven’s last compositions such as the Ninth Symphony, the Missa Solemnis, and even in the Heiliger Dankgesang of his very late Quartet, Op. 132. Beethoven had a predisposition toward daydream, aloofness and metaphysical thinking. Such documentation can be found in associations dealing with Beethoven in his childhood, for instance:

  8 [He wa s] a shy and taciturn boy, the necessary consequence of the life apart which he led, observing more and pondering more than he spoke, and disposed to abandon himself entirely to the feelings awakened by music and (later) by poetry and to the pictures created by fancy. 13

Cäcelia Fischer, observing Beethoven as a child staring through a window fixedly, quotes him: “I was just occupied with such a lovely deep thought, I could not bear to be disturbed.” 14

These tendencies toward aloofness, attraction to abstract beauty, and escape through contemplation and fantasy are characteristics that stayed with the composer through his entire documented life. Many psychological profiles have been generated in order to account for these trends in Beethoven study, modern attempts including gestalt, 15 cognitive-behavioral, 16 and psycho-analytic approaches. 17

No examination of personal character or achievement can be sufficiently appreciated or accurately estimated without taking into account the environmental factors of which the subject was or is a part. That Beethoven was a rather unique historical figure is difficult to contest, but the setting into which he was born plays a major role in accounting for his rise. This setting could be said to be one of the most critical and significant moments in the shaping of our modern world: the Enlightenment, as well as its correlating Counter-Enlightenment. His personal traits mentioned above were also major points of the Enlightenment, either in confluence or opposition.                                                               13  Alexander W. Thayer‐ Elliot Forbes, p. 20. Thayer’s source is referred to only as “Dr. Müller”.  14  Solomon, Beethoven, p. 20.  15  Lerdahl and Jackendoff, A Generative Theory of Tonal Music MIT Press, 1983.  16  Two books use Beethoven as a model for cognitive‐behavioral therapies: Benzon, William. Beethoven’s  Anvil Basic Books, 2002, and Pearsall, Paul. The Beethoven Factor.  Hampton Roads Publishing Company,  2003.  17  Most notably, Maynard Solomon’s Beethoven and Beethoven Essays, (see bibliography). 

  9 There existed, therefore, in this setting a pre-existing momentum for these characteristics of the composer, functioning as mutually intensifying vehicles for each other; or in some cases, such as Beethoven’s mystic tendencies, for providing an opponent against which to strive. From either angle, these traits were relevant to his era. Beginning his life in Bonn, Beethoven lived in a city whose situation in the years surrounding his birth through his formative years exemplifies the political and social progress of this period. The German Aufklärung essentially shared the same intellectual and philosophical roots as the Enlightenment in the rest of Europe, and with similar impact. Bonn would become a progressive city through this time, providing the young Beethoven with a fertile environment where these enlightenment trends could be found and integrated into his own thinking and spirituality. It is the intent of this chapter to identify those aspects of his environment in Bonn and Vienna of the late 18 th Century, and explore their consequences through the composer’s development and maturation, with an emphasis on their resonance in his last years.

1.1 The Roots of Intellectual Revolution

While the nature and outcome of the Aufklärung are well known, identifying and highlighting some of its major and specific causes can greatly clarify the directions that Europe and its leaders took as well as providing a more refined understanding of their motivations. It is well-known, for instance, that Kant, Hume, or Voltaire tended to advocate rationalism and skepticism above pious religious devotion when the two conflicted. What may not be immediately evident is the reason for so much zealously anti-Christian or anti-Catholic thought that arose at this time. Consideration of major social strife and intellectual constraint caused directly or indirectly by Christian institutions makes clear much of the circumspection and even

  10 animosity exhibited by individuals such as early David Hume, Thomas Aikenhead, 18 or Adam Weisshaupt and his group, the Illuminati. The Thirty Years War and the Inquisition-led witch hunts are primary examples of such social disasters that contributed to this strife and growing animosity. Owing to the scale on which these events occurred, they made impressions felt on a deep personal level rather than remaining only at a level of social awareness. Some estimates project the casualties of the Thirty Years War at one-third to two-thirds (one source estimates the population at about 15 million in 1600 to around 10 million in 1650 19 ) of the population of the German-speaking lands, 20 and that of the witch hunts are estimated at around 100,000. 21 One source, though undocumented, places the witch hunt casualties at the highest end of speculation with “nearly a million innocent lives”. 22

These figures indicate not only that the populace would surely be aware of such hardship occurring in their communities, but that any given individual is more likely than not to have suffered serious loss or grave intimidation directly from church-related endeavors.

                                                              18  A university student hung by Edinburgh officials in 1697.   Howell, T.B.  A Complete Collection of State  Trials and Proceedings for High Treason T.C. Hansard: London, 1816.

19  Estimate provided by http://www.tacitus.nu/historical‐atlas/population/germany.htm  20  Wedgewood, C. V., The Thirty Years War, pp. 510‐515.  21  Levack, Brian P, The Witch‐hunt in Early Modern Europe, p. 19.  22  Howard, Michael, The Occult Conspiracy p. 43. 

  11

0 5 10 15 20 25 1500 1650 1750 Population Victims of the Thirty‐Years War and Witch‐ hunts Figure 1.1

Impact of religious strife on population of the German-speaking lands 23

Many other well-known major problems faced the church’s goal of unanimous Catholic control, the most damaging result of which was of course the Reformation. Even in Beethoven’s day, the split between Catholics and Protestants was likely to have serious practical ramifications because of political alliances: Prussia was officially Protestant, while the Habsburg Empire remained Catholic. The bitter struggle for religious dominance during the two centuries leading up to Beethoven’s birth in 1770 had been a bloody one. And though the Thirty Years War—the climax of this religious tension—had ended more than a century earlier, the long-term impact of such an extended religious civil war made Europe desperate for smoother and less violent trends in its culture. Residual doubt in the value of religion in general had persisted in certain circles in Europe. This lingering doubt and distaste for the warring Christian Churches harbored by those Europeans left pockets of spiritual vacuum. This naturally provided an opening for Masonic organizations to emerge, most significantly in this specific context, in portions of Bonn’s intellectual life. Nevertheless, both Protestantism and Catholicism maintained their positions as the primary spiritual (though no longer socio-political) institutions of Beethoven’s lifetime.                                                               23  For comparative purposes, the casualties listed for 1650 include not only the victims of the Thirty‐Years  War and the witch‐hunts occurring at that time, but the estimated total of all witch‐hunts in early‐modern  Europe.  Population statistics are measured by millions.  Both statistics are highly‐contested and  approximate; however this chart reflects the trends as ac curately as possible.  Data taken from Levack,  Erick H. C. Midelfort, Howard, and Martinsson. 

  12 Beethoven’s f amily, a case in point, was decidedly of a less questioning sort than the company that Beethoven would later keep as he grew up. Ludwig himself, in spite of the far and wide spiritual journey made through his life, would never renounce or protest the merits of Catholicism, no matter how distant or contrary were the texts that entered his serious study and consideration. The seeds of Christian belief were sown and retained, and perhaps even flourished, through the composer’s life. It is a critical point of this dissertation that Beethoven sought to reconcile and/or synthesize spiritual concepts of disparate religious systems as well as the spiritual elements of various literary bodies and contemporary philosophies. Though most of Europe stood firm in its outward traditional Christian convictions, an intellectual fracture was growing in the collective mind of Europe, dividing the church’s socio- political dominance, from which the church would never fully recover. This fracture could not be restricted to the intellectual realm either. The confusion of the era leading up to the Enlightenment is worth emphasizing. In a world where a culture accepts theocracy with its dogma, a shift in the direction of serious inquiry and the newly developed application of scientific method can yield unfamiliar areas for thought and unanticipated conclusions. What could easily qualify as heresy and a consequent death sentence in Germanic areas in 1670 24 could be tolerated or even supported in Bonn of 1770 in the right circles. This is a small enough time span to cause significant tension at a domestic level, as one generation would not adjust easily to the next ones’ quickly changing views regarding issues considered very serious at that time. 25

These were likely the most powerful stimuli for the shift in the spiritual perspective during this era, and it was not without consequence for Beethoven. Social change invariably                                                               24  Midelfort, Witch Hunting, p. 71.  25  The case of Thomas Aikenhead, cited in footnote #15, epitomized the tension of this era.  As a  university student in Edinburgh in 1697, in the wake of the Inquisition’s peak power, he openly disparaged  Christian theology and was consequently tried in a court of law and sentenced to death by hanging. 

  13 elicits debate whose intensity is prop ortional to its perceived relevance and impact in any given setting. The polarity of religious conservatism, as this pulled against the rationalistic tendencies of the day, could be stressful on any individual when forming a world-concept, but can be a further-reaching burden for an artist. In this era, the artist did not only share the responsibility of self-definition as do all people; he or she must accurately assess the awareness and receptivity of his/her audience, and creatively balance the opposing forces to the best of his/her intuitions, either diplomatically or in conflict, with the aim of successfully persuading society to embrace his/her artistic view. In no other way could an artist attempt to successfully navigate the free market that was beginning to emerge for composers. The challenge of dealing with and sharing effectively these issues can cause cognitive dissonance not only in the sense of struggling with ideas that are hard to reconcile, but also in the sense of struggling to see oneself as complete and comprehensible in two ways that logically do not tolerate each other. Both Mozart and Beethoven, for example, suffered from a desire to be good and pious toward God, yet be forward-looking “enlightened” men, both assuming what were effectively leadership positions of social consequence. The reconciliation of apparently conflicting ideas will be discussed in musical contexts and elaborated in the chapters dealing with Beethoven’s own solutions and syntheses in sound in his opus 111 and opus 131.

1.2 Orientalism and Indology

During this time of re-evaluation of its core spiritual tenets, Europe faced many other challenges. One beneficial factor for Europe was the great progress of global exploration. Such progress had strong implications that the world and its knowledge were ultimately knowable. It contributed greatly to the confidence and spirit of the Enlightenment, and reinforced its

  14 mo mentum. Beethoven was in no way exempt from the ripples of excitement that were cast through his circles when informed of new reports of exotic discovery from abroad. Explorers such as Captain James Cook and Samuel Wallis of England, and Louis Antoine de Bougainville of France led expeditions to remote places of the globe for which Europe had no record. By the end of Cook’s voyages, cartographers, accounts, and reports of the distant Pacific had mapped and described what 300 years prior had been mistaken for the edge of a flat world. Thus the last earthly frontiers were de-mystified in the minds of many of that time. Reports circulated widely in Europe, reaching Beethoven in their readership. These reports of the explorations of the Far East generated a taste for anthropological studies of anywhere east of the Ottoman Empire among Europe’s intellectuals. Interest became so great in areas such as India, the newly-discovered Tahiti, and the myriad of Pacific Islands that this trend developed into a serious movement whose studies began to assemble under the term Orientalism. Of all these areas, perhaps the most captivating for eighteenth-century Viennese scholars was India. At this historical juncture, India studies began to exert a strong influence on Western thought, with many of these influences filtering through Vienna during Beethoven’s life. Judging by the amount and serious treatment of Hindu reference made by Beethoven in his Tagebuch—his diary—that he kept in his forties as well as in his correspondence, it becomes clear that this culture was very meaningful to him. 26 While he did seek out Hindu studies on his own, he did so in a culture that was growing more and more saturated in Indology (South Asian/Indian subcontinent studies) every year. This movement gained significant momentum in the 1780s, precipitated by William Jones’s seminal work in the field. Because of its critical impact on his late compositions (discussed in Part II), highlights of European interest in India and the resulting                                                               26  In his commentary of the Tagebuch in Beethoven Essays, Solomon cites numerous references to the  Bhagavad‐Gita, Rg Veda, and writings of contemporary indologists.  

  15 tone during B eethoven’s lifetime are summarized briefly here, with an emphasis on studies known to the composer. Until the 1780s, eighteenth-century Europe’s experience with India was most prominent in the turbulent interactions it had with the British East India Company. Founded in 1600, this company viewed India as a less civilized culture and behaved with a distinct mercantilist outlook in its dealings. Naturally, at this stage, commercial ties and cultural interest were generated by Indian imports as well as by British accounts of India. Then in 1757, as part of the Seven Years War, India was brought further into the European public awareness as the East India Company established British company rule by military means in West Bengal, India in the battle of Plassey. This battle, a key victory for the English, bridged the state of English-Indian affairs from mercantilism toward colonialism and imperialism. Consequently, Plassey brought India and the East much closer to the foreground of the thoughts of many Europeans. A decade later, in the mid-late 1760s, Captains Cook and Bougainville embarked on voyages (though not including India at that point) which would generate waves of excitement; news of these excursions reached the general public as well as scholarly circles. A decade after that in 1777 Georg Forster published a chronicle of his experiences aboard that circumnavigation. His influential A Voyage Round the World spearheaded the spread of anthropological interest in popular and intellectual circuits. He, and later Alexander von Humboldt, would bring further prestige to cultural studies and exploration. Regarding Indic interest specifically, the prime stimulus had been made in 1786 by the English philologist William Jones. In his essay, The Sanscrit Language, he connected European language families to Sanskrit. The likelihood of an ancient historical, linguistic, or even genetic connection between Europe and India opened an entirely new dimension to cultural scholarship and to Europe’s own self-understanding. During that same time, Jones also founded the Asiatick

  16 Society, a research group m ostly centered on Indic studies, based in Calcutta. His 1789 translation of the ancient play Sakuntala 27 had a particular impact on Johann Gottfried von Herder, whose mythopoetic works proved most influential in the German-speaking lands. In the same year as Jones’ Sanscrit Language, a French orientalist named Abraham- Hyacinthe Anquetil Duperron contributed Recherches historiques et geographiques sur l'Inde. The influence of this author can be most clearly felt when reading Schopenhauer’s acknowledgement of his academic debt to Duperron regarding the Hindu influence of his The World as Will and Representation. Writing on this topic, Harry Oldmeadow has stated: Schopenhauer, at the age of twenty-five, was given a copy of Anquetil Duperron’s Oupnek’hat. It was a revelation to him: he later praised it as “the most profitable and elevated reading which … is possible in the world. It has been the solace of my life, and will be the solace of my death.” After his introduction to the Upanishads Schopenhauer immediately embarked on the collection and study of such Asian texts as had been translated into European languages, claiming that “Sanskrit literature will be no less influential for our time than Greek literature was in the 15 th Century for the Renaissance.” 28

Full document contains 219 pages
Abstract: Scholarship on Ludwig van Beethoven has long addressed the composer's affiliations with Freemasonry and other secret societies in an attempt to shed new light on his biography and works. Though Beethoven's official membership remains unconfirmed, an examination of current scholarship and primary sources indicates a more ubiquitous Masonic presence in the composer's life than is usually acknowledged. Whereas Mozart's and Haydn's Masonic status is well-known, Beethoven came of age at the historical moment when such secret societies began to be suppressed by the Habsburgs, and his Masonic associations are therefore much less transparent. Nevertheless, these connections surface through evidence such as letters, marginal notes, his Tagebuch, conversation books, books discovered in his personal library, and personal accounts from various acquaintances. This element in Beethoven's life comes into greater relief when considered in its historical context. The "new path" in his art, as Beethoven himself called it, was bound up not only with his crisis over his incurable deafness, but with a dramatic shift in the development of social attitudes toward art and the artist. Such portentous social changes cannot be accounted for through the force of Beethoven's personality, or the changing role of the Viennese nobility. Many social forces were at work in the late Enlightenment period, but within this context Freemasonry assumed special importance for Beethoven. I attempt to show in this thesis that Beethoven's musical concepts were deeply enriched through the influence of Freemasonry and other types of ancient philosophical and esoteric thought. The composer integrated these concepts into his world view as well as his music. Evidence of this philosophical/musical synthesis can be seen by comparing his personal writings with certain of his compositions that reflect such thought and attitudes. Three works are examined from this point of view: the Bagatelle, op. 119, No. 7, the Piano Sonata in C minor, op. 111, and the String Quartet in C-sharp minor, op. 131.