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Musique maçonnique au 18e siècle. Vocal Concert Dresden, Kopp.
Format : 1 CD
Total Time : 01:07:41

Recording : 10-12/05/2018
Location : Dresde
Country : Allemagne
Sound : Eglise / Stereo

Label : Berlin Classics
Catalog No. : 0301152BC
EAN : 0885470011523
Price Code : DM020A

Publishing Year : 2019
Release Date : 04/09/2019

Genre : Classical
Johann Gottlieb Naumann (1741-1801)
Zur Eröffnung der Loge
An Gott
Die heilige Zahl
Wiegenlied der Freymäurer
Muzik zur Trauerloge für Jacob Heinrich von Born
Wenn der Tod die Schlummerschale
Musique "Till andra Graden uti frimureriet"
Murar Bröder
Wandrer Sa
"An die Freude"
Wem der grosse wurf gelungen"
An unsre Schwestern

Friedrich H. Himmel (1765-1814)
Zur Ehre Gottes

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)

Joseph Augustin Gürrlich (1761-1817)
Bei Eröffnung der Loge

Bernhard Anselm Weber (1764-1821)
An einem jungen Bruder

Friedrich Ludwig Seidel (1765-1831)
Zur Ehre Gottes

Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785)

Joseph Schuster (1748-1812)
Der Meister an die Brüder

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Schluss der Loge, KV 484

Christian Gottfried Körner (1756-1831)
Freude, schöner Götterfunken, extrait de "An die Freude"

Friedrich Franz Hurka (1762-1805)
Freude trinken alle Wesen, extrait de "An die Freude"

Vocal Concert Dresden
Peter Kopp, direction

La Franc-Maçonnerie connaît un développement exponentiel au XVIIIème siècle, parallèlement à l'avènement des Encyclopédistes et de la progression des « Idées des Lumières » dans la société européenne. Les Loges s'organisent, recrutent, les rituels deviennent plus complexes. Les réunions des Loges s'accompagnent de musique, le chant des « Frères » est sollicité pour des hymnes à la gloire des idées maçonniques. De très nombreux musiciens des Loges composent par conséquent des pièces, vocales dans leur grande majorité, destinées à être exécutées lors de ces réunions. C'est ce répertoire fascinant, et en particulier celui des Loges de Dresde dans les années 1780, que ce très bel enregistrement met en lumière, avec des compositeurs méconnus et beaucoup de premières mondiales. Si Mozart est représenté par une très belle « Schluss der Loge » (Clôture de Loge) qui anticipe étrangement l'atmosphère et les tournures mélodiques de la Flûte Enchantée (Chœur des Prêtres), on trouve à ses côtés CPE Bach, ou Homilius, lui aussi élève de Bach père. 1782 fut une année record pour la composition de chants maçonniques (plus de 100), pour arriver à plus de 700 en 1800. On ne s'étonnera pas que la plupart de ces pièces soient écrites pour chœur d'hommes, à l'unisson ou une polyphonie simple à deux ou trois voix, avec soliste et piano. Les femmes ne seront en effet admises qu’à la fin du siècle suivant. Parmi ces compositeurs émerge Johann Gottlieb Naumann, représenté par 14 numéros du présent CD, dans des pièces aux instrumentations plus variées où interviennent flûte, basson, et quatuor à cordes et qui révèlent son grand talent. On y trouve, à côté d'une étonnante « Berceuse », un chant funèbre pour Jacob Heinrich von Born, et même une cantate maçonnique sur un texte suédois, composée durant son séjour à Stockholm (1777-1778). Les voix du Vocal Concert Dresden, accompagnées par des instruments d'époque, sous la direction de Peter Kopp, recréent ici pour nous avec talent l'univers musical d'une loge à Dresde à l'époque du plus célèbre d'entre eux, Mozart. (Jean-Michel Babin-Goasdoué)

In his philosophically theological essay Ernst und Falk. Gespräche für Freimaurer (conversations for freemasons, 1776-78) the great German playwright and author of the Enlightenment Gotthold Ephraim Lessing puts the following words into the mouth of his protagonist Falk: “The true works of the Freemasons are aimed at making more or less everything that one customarily describes as good deeds unnecessary.” This cryptic paradox is the formulation of an ideal espoused by the Freemasons from the start and embraced by them in the process of founding a society instrumental in pursuing enlightenment: through working on one’s own ethics and morals in the interests of furthering the common good and improving the state of society (“true works”), without being content with sporadic aid and comfort (“good deeds”). The recordings on this CD demonstrate the explosive expansion of Masonic music in North and Central Germany in the last third of the 18th century, notably in Berlin and above all in Dresden. Over and above that, they afford an insight into the stupendous variety and vitality of vocal and instrumental music among the Freemasons, amplifying the context in which we understand the “Royal Art” most often associated with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Magic Flute”. The principal genre in the music of the late-18th-century Lodge is the strophic song, generally sung in unison but also in harmony when suitably trained singers were available. The interaction between words and music was designed to inculcate the values upheld by Freemasons, while collective singing was intended to reinforce the sense of community and provide recreation and relaxation through music. Johann Gottlieb Naumann’s piece Zur Eröffnung der Loge (at the opening of the Lodge) comes from his Freymäurerlieder mit neuen Melodien (1775), a collection that marked his vocal debut. Publication of the work may also be seen as initiating the development of Dresden both as a general and as a specific centre of Freemasons’ songs in the last third of the 18th century. Naumann, active in the Lodge Aux vrais amis (as part of the Lodge Zu den drei Schwertern) between 1774 and 1799, is the eighteenth century’s most productive composer in this field with his over 70 Masonic song settings and a number of instrumental works. Numerous reprints in collections of the 18th and 19th centuries prove his extraordinary popularity. Naumann’s melodious “opening song”, to be sung in unison or harmony as wished with the simple accompaniment of a keyboard instrument, possesses model character in that it satisfies the differing musical abilities of the great majority of the Lodge brotherhood as was considered necessary at that time. Taking its text from the first German book of Masonic songs (1746), the piece is typically adapted to its intended function. Such vocal works had the function of structuring sequences and supporting ceremonies; they marked the beginning and end of Lodge business or accompanied particular rituals. Functional applications of the song titles are not to be taken too literally; the compositions were available to serve the Lodge’s works in many different ways. In his Gespräche für Freimaurer, Lessing makes the critically distanced Ernst – as Falk’s debating opponent – scornfully cry out that Freemason songs are “mostly more beautifully printed than conceived or intoned”, because their purpose is to praise the typical Freemason – “so friendly, so benevolent, so obedient, so full of love for the Fatherland!” – and flatter his vanity. However, many of the texts in the song collections are noteworthy for their timeless humanist values and the immediacy and directness of their formulation. This applies especially to Naumann’s prayer to the Divinity An Gott, one of his last Masonic compositions, which in contrast to most Freemasons’ songs exhibits a process of through-composition within a tripartite overall structure. The subtlety of the setting in the “Mason’s key” of E flat major (symbolic triangle of three flats) shows Naumann at the height of his songwriting ability and to some degree represents a Freemason’s confession of faith. A piece of comparable nature comes from the Berlin court music director Friedrich Heinrich Himmel, one of Naumann’s most important pupils, who wrote the hymn of praise Zur Ehre Gottes. As with many Masonic songs, this composition is laid out in antiphonal form; the alternation between a single precentor and the answering choir of his fellow-brethren helps promotes attention to the values that are to be upheld and reinforces the feeling of community. The piece is also notable for a self-contained keyboard part, a novelty for the period around 1800, and for an effortlessly soaring obbligato flute part.

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