We are shaped not only by music, but also by our opinions about music. It is all the more important to revisit the connection between music and moral education in a culture like ours, steeped as it is in self-indulgence and vulgarity. The study of music as a liberal art gives students an extended opportunity to scrutinize their opinions – and to confront the causes and effects of their passions.
Music, as a living presence that comes to us, offers itself to us, assures us that we are not alone: that there is something out there in the world that knows our hearts and may even teach us to know them better.
Music as symbol is the whole of all things. It is the world. That is why, as Schopenhauer says, “we could just as well call the world embodied music as embodied will.”
I hope that my study in contrast will lead us to a deeper understanding of music as it relates to the whole of all things, our human condition and our happiness. I also hope that it will show why music is the most comprehensive of the liberal arts, and why it is the case that to speak about music is to speak about everything.
In his generous and beautifully written book, Robert Reilly leads us through the vast, largely unknown territory of twentieth-century music. The hero of the book is beauty.