Occultism Influenced Modernism in Music

Back in November (I know – you think that with the pandemic I wouldn’t be so far behind in my reading! OOPSIE!!), the New York Times Book Review ran a review on A Sound Mind by Paul Morley, who was one of the enfant terribles of the British post-punk journalistic scene, and then a collaborator on the arty but successful Zang Tuum Tum label (Art of Noise, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Propaganda). In the book Morley discusses his discovery of and investigations into the Classical Music canon and some of his opinions on its development over the centuries. One interesting observation he makes it pinpointing the pivoting from Classicism per se to Modernism to the emergence of such composers as Erik Satie and Claude Debussy. Satie of course was the in-house composer for Josephin Peladan’s Ordre du Temple de la Rose, creating suitably occult-themed work. While DeBussy was not formally alligned with Peladan’s order he did produce a number of mystically themed works.

Recently there’ve been a number of articles and books published on the impact of mysticism on the visual arts during this same time period as the Ordre du Temple de la Rose was active – notably via Theosophical doctrines and treatises which influenced artists like Kandinsky and Hilma af Klint: prompting the emergence of Abstract art, then Surrealism.

You get the point. Read the review:


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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