Scottish Rite Journal
Book Review: Masonic Notes
written by James T. Tresner II, 33°, Grand Cross, Book Review Editor
As the Fellow Craft Degree hath it: “Music is that elevated science which affects the passions by sound … it is a language of delightful sensations, far more eloquent than words; it breathes to the ear the clearest intonations; it touches and gently agitates the agreeable and sublime passions.…”
The column this issue is mostly about Masonic Music—not only music by Masonic composers (of which there are/were many) but music by composers that takes inspiration of some sort from the Fraternity. The topic is one of my great loves. There are several lists of Masonic composers on the Internet, and I put together a booklet, available from the Masonic Service Association, titled The Craft’s Noyse, which is an annotated listing of composers and lyricists who were Freemasons. It is not, I have discovered, a complete list, since Brethren have sent me notice of composers who were omitted. But it is fairly complete. If you want a copy, you can order it from The Masonic Service Association, #288, $4 + $3 s & h Masonic Service Association of North America 8120 Fenton Street, Suite 203, Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785.
Bro. Harm Timmerman, The Temple of Humanity: The Music of Freemasonry, CD, 2008, Pink Records, ASIN: B0018BF3D4, band: Freestone, available on the Internet for about $20.
For me, this album is a great treat in many ways. First of all, the packaging is beautiful, as is the booklet which comes with it. Second, I truly enjoyed the music, even though it is much more “pop” than my usual preferences. And third, it is a beautiful and literate tribute to the Fraternity. Bro. Timmerman, a Mason from Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, has done a remarkable job, especially with the lyrics which include quotations from or allusions to Milton’s Paradise Lost, Joseph Fort Newton’s The Builders, and Sorastro’s mighty Masonic Aria “Within These Holy Walls,” from The Magic Flute, among others.
To illustrate: here are the lyrics to “The Temple of Humanity.”
closed [sic] nor naked
All things I’ve set apart but with
a dagger on my heart
Hear the cosmic symphony of the
heart of all reality
Of good report to get into the Temple of
Life in circles. It’s difficult to break it
I’m still trying to loose the fear of dying
In my own willingness I had to drain the cup of bitterness
My inner guide helped me to find before I could decide
It will only be you and me
We can all be part of the Temple of Humanity
It will be denied by the prisoners outside
Here’s the symbol and you will see
We can all be stones and the feel inside will take you there
Look around for I know it can be found
Between compass and square
Blindfolded, it’s very hard to make it
what is the purpose below the surface
It can be hard to see that faith in which all agree
It can be found in the Temple of Humanity.
The CD is a remarkable experience. I’ve already ordered several copies for friends. It is an exciting, modern tribute to the great traditions of the Craft.