If one knows that Palestrina or Bach or Handel or Mozart or Beethoven wrote superior music, then choosing consistently to listen to less excellent music would be a moral fault. It could even be a mortal sin . . . for example, listening for pleasure to songs about sexual perversion or [to] Satanic heavy metal would be mortally sinful. However, since we must strive to flee even venial sins lest they prepare the way for mortal sin, it is always better to assume that today’s popular music, produced mostly by hedonists who are generally singing about sins, is a slippery slope leading to some kind of intellectual pollution and consent.
. . . . For a person attracted by the goodness inherent in art, there can be no divide between entertainment and profundity or worthiness. We should only want to listen to that which is beautiful; to settle consciously for something less is a lessening of our humanity, of our rationality. It would be like saying that only a church needs to be holy, while a home can be profane. No, the home itself must be made holy, it must be a “domestic church,” a sort of monastic enclosure for the bringing up of saints. The divide between entertainment and fine art is a form of dualism. . . we should elevate our souls to the point where what is intrinsically best or most beautiful is what gives us the greatest pleasure and restfulness. In other words, we should aim at a condition where anything we choose to do—whether for relaxation, leisure, or work—is equally noble, excellent, and praiseworthy. When I am in a serious mood, I should sing, play, or listen to Bach or any other great composer; when I am in a light mood or in need of relaxation, I should also sing, play, or listen to Bach or any other great composer.
While I would defend with my dying breath the superiority of anything Beethoven ever wrote to practically anything else created across genres in the history of humanity, I'm not sure I agree with Kwasniewski. He works from the assumption that the classics of the western art-music canon are morally superior to other music (or "musics," as we say in the embarrassingly-desperate-to-be-hip world of musicology), but his definition of that which is musically "intrinsically best or most beautiful" is, at best, a tautology.