How I Was Seduced By Traditionalism, Part 3: Truth, Beauty, and Anxiety

When I was a freshmen in college, I took a class called “Music and Culture,” which was basically a music appreciation course. More than anything, “Music and Culture” helped to form my current love of classical music. One piece of music that had a particularly profound influence on me was the works of Palestrina and the magnificent Miserere by Allegri. When I first heard Renaissance polyphony, I was still years away from my conversion, but it was hard not to listen to these songs and feel like there was some kind of transcendence out there in the world. Even today, as a born-again secular humanist, Renaissance polyphony holds a special place in my heart. But the point is that being exposed polyphony put the idea in my head that anything that sounded that beautiful had to be a reflection of a supernatural reality, even if I wasn’t sure at that time what that might mean.

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