Inspector Morse Episode: Masonic Mysteries; Music, Art and Literary References

Hello my wonderful fellow Morsonians and welcome to an episode in the Morse oeuvre that can be found in most fans top three of their favourite episodes. I am certainly one of those people.

To read my review, which includes pub locations etc, of this episode click here. I have of course added the information from here to the review which was written some years ago.

Once I have finished with each series I will post a downloadable excel sheet for each category; music, art and literary references. This would allow everyone who downloads said excel sheets to print them off for personal use. Hopefully, having these print outs next to you while you watch the episode will be of help in identifying your favourite pieces of music from all three series. In the same vein the downloadable excel sheets will I hope help in your enjoyment and appreciation of the art and literary references used in all three series.

Of course I am not infallible (I know I was shocked to realise that trait in myself😉 ) so if you should spot an error or omission then please let me know and I will update my post with the new information.

The time of the pieces of music et cetera are based on the British DVD versions of the shows. However, the times shown should not be to dissimilar from other countries versions or should be easy to pinpoint what I am referring to and when.

Masonic Mysteries: Series 4, Episode 4.

Chronologically this is episode 15.


It is no surprise that all the classical music is excerpts from the Mozart opera The Magic Flute. (The Magic Flute (German: Die Zauberflöte), K. 620)

What I will attempt to do is identify the excerpts as to where they happen in the opera and which characters are singing. I have also tried to get all the musical excerpts used in the episode and make them into short videos for each piece.

I am a fan of the opera but do not put myself forward as an expert. So, on that note I apologize in advance for any errors.

So, the episode starts with what is the opening piece of the opera.


Morse and Lewis are leaving the town hall where the production was taking place. Morse says to Lewis that he has to speak to McNutt.

After three ladies, attendants of the Queen of the Night, appear and kill the serpent that was tormenting Tomino, he having fainted, he awakes to find Papageno who takes credit for having killed the serpent.


Morse and Lewis are leaving McNutt’s house and walking toward his, now defaced, car. A section of the opening is replayed here.


Morse and Lewis are driving back from McNutt’s house and are trying to make sense of that night’s events.

The music is played while the council of priests of Isis and Osiris, headed by Sarastro, enter. Sarastro tells the priests that Tamino is ready to undergo the ordeals that will lead to enlightenment. He invokes the gods Isis and Osiris, asking them to protect Tamino and Pamina (Aria and chorus: “O Isis und Osiris“).


The scene starts with Morse staring at the defaced car and then moves into his house where he sits on the settee contemplating all that has happened.

The next piece is from Act 1, scene 1 and is part of the scene after Prince Tamino has just been presented by the Three Ladies with an image of the princess Pamina, and falls instantly in love with her. “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” (This image is enchantingly lovely)


Morse is in a cell and Lewis and Bottomley arrive at his house to find angry neighbours beating at Morse’s door as their is music blasting from his house.

We are now at act 2, scene 3. The Queen of the Night appears handing Pamina a dagger, ordering her to kill Sarastro with it and threatening to disown her if she does not. “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” (“Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart”)


Morse is released from his cell and returns home. As he lies sleeping on the settee a fire starts.

Tamino declares that he is ready to be tested. Pamina enters and declares her intention to undergo the remaining trials with him. She hands him the magic flute to help them through the trials. Wir wandelten durch Feuergluten, (We wandered through the fire’s glow)


We are now in the house of Hugo DeVries and he and Morse talk of what has happened. Hugo turns on a cassette recording of The Magic Flute.

Papageno and Pamina are searching for Tamino when they are recaptured by Monostatos and his slaves. Papageno plays his magic bells, and Monostatos and his slaves begin to dance, and exit the stage, still dancing, mesmerised by the beauty of the music. Schnelle Füße, racher Mut (Swift feet and ready courage)

Our final piece is when Morse is sitting in his car outside where the opera is being played. Lewis and his wife went along at the behest of Morse. The scene sees Lewis and his wife coming out early (though they almost stayed to the end as the music that can be heard playing is almost at the end of the opera).

The traitorous Monostatos appears with the Queen of the Night and her three ladies. They plot to destroy the temple (“Nur stille, stille“) and the Queen confirms that she has promised her daughter Pamina to Monostatos.

Below is a recording of The Magic Flute where all the monologues and dialogues have been omitted.

If you enjoy all the music from the Morse series I have collected all the pieces I have identified thus far and have created playlists on YouTube. On how to access these playlists please read the relevant post by clicking here.

Or click here to my Youtube channel where you will find the music of Morse and Endeavour contained in playlists. For this particular episode I have made a separate playlist for the jazz and the classical music.

Literary References


Morse is sitting on the stairs in the building’s hall as the opera company begin to leave having all been questioned. Morse says goodnight to them and then says,

Good ladies, goodnight sweet ladies”.

This is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Spoken by Ophelia,

Come, my coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies;

good night, good night”.


Within the same scene as above, Deardon enters the area carrying the knife that was lying beside the body of Beryl Newsome. Morse asks to see it and lifts is up to the light and says,

“Is this a dagger I see before me”.

From Shakespeare’s Macbeth, spoken by Macbeth,

Is this a dagger which I see before me,

The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still”.


While in his cell he asks Lewis to bring him the libretto of The Magic Flute. He then says, “Into the mysteries.Though whether of light or darkness“. I don’t recognize the phrase. It does sound biblical but I cannot find any mention of it.



In the office of Amnox where Beryl Newsome worked as does Marion Brooke, on the wall is a poster.

We have seen this before piece before in the episode Dead of Jericho; Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Proserpine.


We are in Strange’s office where we find him talking to Bottomley. Behind him is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

This portrait is by Leonard Munro Borden.

We have come to the end of another post and one in which I hope you enjoyed. Take care everyone. My next post in this series about art, music and literary references will be Second Time Around.

Author: Chris Sullivan

After having looked after my mum for some 11 years she is now unfortunately in a nursing home. I'm afraid her dementia worsened as did her physical capabilities. UPDATE: My mum died from Covid-19 on the 6th May 2020. So, for the first time in 21 years I find myself no longer caring for anyone. Apart from my mum I was also a single parent to two children and also looked after my dad who had Alzheimers, (he died in 2005). So, I have decided to return to University to try and get another degree this time in English Literature. (My other degree I got some 30 years ago is one in Ecological Science). After a year at college I have passed all grades and now will start Edinburgh University in September 2019. I am now in second year having passed all the requirements in first year.

10 thoughts

  1. I have a question; those screenshots of Morse, where are they from? the dvd’s of Morse on amazon are that kind of quality? The series I got are pretty bad image quality

    1. The screen shots are from my DVDs which are over 15 years old. ITV have never released and have no plans to release HD quality episodes. Fans were hoping ITV would release higher quality DVDs this year to celebrate 30 years since the first Morse episode but ITV said they had no plans to do so.

  2. you know, i didnt read this properly the first time round and i thought you said you would be passing round exam sheets not excell !! d’oh ! but, with some swotting, i would have passed !!! 😀

  3. You omitted the reference to Toscanini’s atrocious “Magic Flute”, which makes me smile every time as I too despite it. To be fair, though, I wouldn’t soil my classical music collection with Toscanini’s sacrilegious recordings anyway. Though he’s Italian his mechanical, manic tempo betrays a German understanding of music which gives more weight to the rhythm than to the soul as Italians do. I prefer the soulful approach myself.

  4. Hello Chris,

    The first part of the Queen of the Night’s aria from Act 1 is heard at 1:50-2:50 during Morse’s and Beryl’s conversation. At 3:00, the singer playing Papageno rehearses his Act 2 duet (with Papagena) with Morse being onstage, then the Overture continues. At 6:25, the second part of the Queen’s aria is sung, and Morse hums it while wearing the medallion. At 15:35, we hear the orchestral introduction to Papageno’s Act 1 aria.


  5. March 16-17

    I can’t comment on the music references as I am far from being an expert. However, I was interested to see the scene with Lewis’s wife, Valerie; was this the only time she appeared on screen? Who was the actress who portrayed Mrs. Lewis?

    Excellent work, as always.

    John Thompson

    1. Hi John. I don’t know the name of the actress who played Mrs Lewis. Her character did turn up in a few episodes, Greeks Bearing Gifts, Fat Chance and this one. I think the character may also have turned up in another episode but I can’t remember at the moment. It might be worth my doing a blog post on Mrs Lewis.

      1. Val Lewis was played by Maureen Bennett. I’m pretty sure this actress has been cited here, but I can’t remember where. Doesn’t she also appear briefly in “Deceived by Flight” (the scene set in Lewis’s garden with Morse sitting on a swing)?

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