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UCI EUROST 10 - The power of music

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Professor Smith European Studies Department Europe Studies 10 European History Course Code: 24000 ● The power of music ○ The effect of the queen of the night’s music on Tamino (us)? ○ But also consider… ○ Papageno’s use of the glockenspiel ■ What is its effect? ● And what does this say about the representation of Monostatos? ○ Music might reinforce oppositions but also overcome them in a unique way via a harmonizing of differences ○ Does music in general offer a unique way of working with oppositions and “harmonizing” them? This point will emerge again at end of today’s lecture ○ In pursuing this question, I am also trying to emphasize the uniqueness of the genre ○ Opera is not just a “text” or even a play ■ It includes music and therefore can do something special ● Before turning to act 2… ○ ...an aside on desire ○ I think the opera has interesting things to say about the way our (i.e., modern western) culture organizes and evaluates different kinds of desire ○ That is, i’m giving you and example of how we can look at a cultural artifact to learn something about how a society sees itself and presents its values ■ It’s not that the opera is trying to teach us something, but we can still learn from it ○ I did this with the painting of the snake charmer as an example of “orientalism” at work ○ There are many different kinds of desire presented in the opera and many interesting presentations of the nature of desire ■ 1. How do the three ladies approach Tamino? ■ 2. How does Tamino fall in love with Pamina? ■ 3. What kind of desire does Papageno have? ■ 4. How is Monostatos desire depicted? ■ 5. How must Tamino learn to deal with his desire as part of his “enlightenment” ○ The three ladies and monostatos have a kind of possessive desire, as opposed to a “good” king that respects the other ○ Tamino comes to love Pamina through the mediation of an image ■ Not really love at first sight but love of the image at first sight and love of the image at first sight and love of the person on “second sight” ○ A general principle of human desire? ○ Control of (female) desire as part of enlightenment?■ Recall three boys: “be a man” ○ Which brings us to the “brotherhood” ● March and chorale, opening of Act 2 ○ How would you describe the music and the demeanor of the “brotherhood” ○ What does the music make you think of? ○ The solemnity of this music is reminiscent of a religious hymn ■ After all, it takes place in one of Sarastro’s temples ○ But it’s supposed to capture their rationality as well ○ So what’s the connection? ● Secularization ○ The process by which religious symbols and institutions lose their significance ○ The general separation of religious from non-religious social realms (usually also connected to the “privatization” of religious practice) ○ The “disenchantment of the world” (max weber)that comes with increased rationality ● Yet not not simply a disappearance of religion from society ○ Secularization also involves the way religious symbols “wander” into other spheres or the way non-religious symbols take the place of religious ones, but the structures stay the same ○ Examples? ○ Sunday afternoon football or the superbowl? ○ The “cult” of stardom? ○ Or “temples” of culture/business ○ Think of your own examples! ○ The “Temple” of Sarastro… ○ What is on the three doors? ○ “Vernunft”, “Natur”, “Weisheit” ○ “Reason”, “Nature”, “Wisdom” ○ What kind of a “temple” is this? ● Freemasonry ○ Another enlightened “public sphere” ■ First group founded in England in 1717 ● Originally based on the guilds of bricklayers and builders ● Spread to Europe in 1728 and the American colonies in 1730s ● Meetings in “lodges” or “temples” ○ A “secret” society ● “Freemason” comes from the fact that they only used the symbols of masonry and architecture ● Traced their roots back to ancient Egypt ○ Believed in supreme being as Great Geometer or “architect of the universe” ■ Hence related to deism ○ “Deism” is the view that God created the world with a rational order or laws and, having set the universe on its course, has withdrawn ■ Thus, against any notion of divine intervention or miracles ○ Note the occurrence of the pattern of three■ For balance ● America’s “Founding Fathers?” ○ “Freemasonry is the oldest and largest world wide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a Supreme Being. Although of a religious nature, Freemasonry is not a religion. It urges its members, however, to be faithful and devoted to their own religious beliefs” ○ Both Mozart and Schikaneder were freemasons and they introduced numerous ideas, symbols, and rituals from freemasonry ○ It was a hotly debated issue after the opera first appeared, both among freemasons and others ● General Symbol of Masons ○ What might this represent? ○ Construction: order, balance ● Why egyptian imagery? ○ A fascination with all things Egyptian throughout the 18th century ○ Order, stability, “light” ○ Pyramid as symbol ○ Even secular society needs quasi-religious rituals and images? ● Familiar? ○ “He/Providence favors our endeavors” ○ “New order of the ages” ○ Religious underpinnings of our society? ■ Or our political imagery as secularized (de-sacralized) religion? ● Freemasonry (18th Century initiation Century) ○ Is the magic flute an elaborate “initiation ceremony” for Tamino? ■ Is his “enlightenment” the “emergence out of self-imposed immaturity” or the initiation into a special group/class in society? ● A “brotherhood”? ● Back to the question of the oppositional thinking in the opera ○ Enlightenment values are not just represented positively ■ They are continually set up in opposition to other values that are negated ● An opposition: ○ The queen of the night and sarastro ○ Listen to their back to back arias ○ How does Mozart musically play out the opposition? ○ Even if you didn’t understand the words, how might you hear the difference? ○ First, how might you characterize the Queen’s singing? ○ Note: in the opera, that incredible aria by the queen of the night is followed immediately by


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