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MOZART AND THE MASONS by H....

MOZART AND THE MASONS by H. Robbins Landon (Thames & Hudson: $9.95, illustrated). In this slim volume based on a lecture he delivered at University of London, Landon argues that an anonymous 18th-Century painting of a Masonic ceremony depicts Mozart and several members of the princely Esterhazy family at a meeting of the Viennese Lodge “Crowned Hope.” He supplements his thesis with archival material to link the composer with the important artists and patrons who belonged to the same lodge. However, Landon also relies heavily on the subjective evidence of the perceived similarities between known portraits and the various figures in the painting: The man he identifies as Mozart bears a striking resemblance to the famous Lang portrait; some of the other identifications seem less convincing. It’s unlikely that “Mozart and the Masons” will increase the reader’s appreciation of his music, but it makes a pleasantly scholarly addition to the literature amid the plethora of fluff celebrating the “bicentennial” of the composer’s death.


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