Friday, July 6, 2007

Occult Composition in Classical Music

It's not just heavy metal musicians who incorporate occult and magical themes into their music. Esoteric elements can also be found in some classical music. Gustav Holst's The Planets is quite popular with ritual magicians and I have used it myself as background music for certain magical operations, and while Holst was not an occultist he did make use of basic astrological archetypes to shape the various elements of his orchestral suite. More explicit occult references can also be found in modern classical pieces, such as the work of composer John Zorn.

From Silence To Sorcery

Zorn's latest album includes three tracks, Goetia, Gris-Gris, and Shibboleth based on magical themes. I should maybe see about picking up a copy of this album since I'm kind of curious if the Goetia track is good music for, well, Goetia. Zorn's previous albums also have interesting titles - Magick (Tzadik, 2004), Rituals (Tzadik, 2005) and Mysterium (Tzadik, 2005). I'm visualizing a bunch of folks in formal dress standing in a concert hall holding aloft lit cigarette lighters and making the "Sign of the Devil." If I ever wind up seeing Zorn's classical work in concert, I'll totally have to do that.

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