The Moment of Darkness

Peter Ustinov's "Billy Budd"

To make a masterpiece, it's not enough that you have ambition, intelligence, and even technical skill. The seed must fall on good soil, not concrete. Some boy may walk among us who would have been Mozart in Salzburg in the eighteenth century, surrounded by music of extraordinary variety, beauty, and power. But we do not know him, because he is playing video games—when he is not daydreaming and getting poor grades in school. If he goes to Mass, he does not hear and commit to memory Allegri's Miserere. He hears music that aspires to the condition of a commercial jingle.


is a professor at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books), Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius Press, 2019). He has also translated Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). 

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #59, Winter 2021 Copyright © 2022 Salvo |


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