[Beethoven, Ludwig van. (1770–1827)]

Maurerfragen. Ein Lied für die Loge d(es) F(rères) c(ourageux) à l'O(rient) d(e) Bonn. Musik von Louis van Beethoven, unterlegte Worte von (Wegel)er.

Bonn: Simrock. [1806]. First Edition. Oblong Folio. 3 pp. Engraved throughout. [PN] 452.  26x33cm. Toned, some stains to blank verso of p.3, else fine. WoO117; Kinsky-Halm 578; Hirsch IV, 458; Wolfstieg 41085.  Rare. 

First edition of Franz Gerhard Wegener's parody "Masonic Questions" (a later edition also included French text), adopting Beethoven's “Der freie Mann” (WoO 117, 1792–94). Wegener initially wrote the Maurer or "Society Song" anonymously in 1806 for the Masons lodge "Les Freres courageux a l'Orient de Bonn", to which Simrock also belonged. 

Though Beethoven was surrounded by members of the Freemasonry and Illuminati all his life and indeed he shared many ideas and values with them, he was not a member of these organizations. If nothing else, joining groups was simply not his style.  But Lodges sometimes used the music of other composers for their proceedings (with or without permission) often adding different words, as here. The present publication was probably done without Beethoven's knowledge and his friend the doctor Franz Wegeler also published a masonic text using the Opferlied WoO 126. In 1810 Beethoven wrote to him saying that "I was told you were singing a song of mine in the Masonic Lodge... Send it to me, I am going to replace it and you won't be sorry."  (23175)

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