Mozart's The Magic Flute

(Die Zauberflöte)

Mozart's Personal Library

A necessary element in the probate of a deceased person's estate is the Inventory of Personal Property. For W. A. Mozart, this inventory was accomplished on 9 December 1791, only 4 days after his death. Mozart's inventory included cash on hand, debts owed to Mozart, furniture, clothing and other items of personal property, including books. An English translation may be found in Appendix 2 of Mozart: A Documentary Biography by Otto Erich Deutsch, pages 583-601.

A separate list identifies a total of 73 books and musical scores in Mozart's possession at the time of this death. This list was prepared by Johann Georg Binz, a Vienna bookseller, who had special knowledge in this area. The music portion of the inventory lists 31 items which include a collection of motets and arias by Johann Hiller, works of Michael Haydn, concerti by Leo, piano exercises by Bach and many other interesting items. The remaining 42 items were books. Several of the more important books are listed below. They provide some idea of Mozart's intellectual interests.


Inventory Item Author Book Title Year Published Number of Pages
03 Hannah More Percy - a Tragedy as Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Covent Garden 1778 87
05 Johann Pezzl Faustin or the Philosophical Century 1783 381
08 Friedrich II Works of King Friedrich II of Prussia - 4 Volumes 1788  
11 Publius Naso Ovid Ovid's Mourning Songs Translated into German Verse by Michael P. Lory 1762 230
15 Adam Friedrich Geisler Sketches of the Character and Actions of Joseph II, Emperor of the Germans 1783 244
18 An "Art Lover" Curieuse und Ganz Neue Art zum Punctiren (Art of Dotting) 1716 89
20 George Schatz Flowers on the Altar of the Graces 1787 272
26 John Kirkby The Capacity and Extent of the Human Understanding; 1745 284
27 Christoph Martin Wieland Dialogues of Diogenes of Sinope 1777 204
30 Heinrich Braun Introduction to the Mythology of the Greeks and Romans 1776 237
31 Friedrich Christoph Oetinger Die Metaphysic in Connexion mit der Chemie 1770 634
32 Joseph Spengler  Rudiments of Arithmetic and Algebra 1779 363
34 Various Vulgate Bible (Family Bible?) 1679 993
35 Moses Mendelssohn Phaedo - On the Immortality of the Soul 1776 224
38 Matthias von Schoenberg The Business of Mankind 1785 386


In my opinion, the most significant book with respect to the topic of this website is Inventory Item 31:  Die Metaphysic in Connexion mit der Chemie by the German theosopher and alchemist, Friedrich Christoph Oetinger (1702-1782).

Oetinger was a Lutheran theologian who published a book in 1770 entitled: Die Metaphysic in Connexion mit der Chemie (Metaphysics in Connection with Alchemy). I am certain that Mozart intensively studied this work, particularly the section concerning Ontology (pages 404-438),  prior to composing his great mystical opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

The main thesis of Oetinger's book was that the human soul has both a physical material part and a rational spiritual aspect. Thus the human soul has "a unity of its own, for it harbors all forces ... it stands midway between the physical and the spiritual." The soul is guided by invisible, spiritual forces which Oetinger called intensa. However, these spiritual intensities cannot be discerned by the ordinary senses.

What is the link between the spiritual (noumenal) world and the physical (phenomenal) world? How does the human soul become aware of the higher levels of the noumenal world? Oetinger proposed that alchemy was limited in its ability to enable man to achieve this level of higher consciousness. However, this level could more readily be achieved through music!

"Chemistry [alchemy] cannot sufficiently clarify this matter, for it is necessary to take recourse to the true science of music and the squaring of the circle; then one will see what cannot be seen in chemistry; that is why one must rise from chemistry up into the numbers of music and acquire knowledge there of a very special kind of metaphysics. Geometrically, intensa cannot be demonstrated, but to a certain extent they can be shown in music. Thus the soul is an intensa, for in a sublime way it is in possession of the numbers."


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