Points Meyer makes about how the belief in art’s seriousness is essential to art:
Much of the information supplied in the program notes for a symphony concert, the popular biographies of composers, or the run-of-the-mill music appreciation course is aimed, albeit unconsciously, primarily at enhancing belief. The story of the composer’s “life and hard times,” the circumstances under which a particular composition was written, the testimonials to the greatness of the work to be heard, and so forth do not help us to appreciate (to understand) the work directly, only our own proper habit responses can do this, rather they aid appreciation by strengthening belief and creating a willing attitude.
[...] A half empty concert hall with an unenthusiastic audience or even a full hall with an inattentive audience will tend to minimize belief and probably the responses of a good many members of the audience, while a full house with a devoteed audience will tend to enhance belief.*
Naturally, since he ignores extramusical meaning, he ignores the fact that stories about composers’ personal lives could be an aid to grasping extramusical meanings. But it is true that testimonials to a work’s greatness are there primarily to enhance belief in the work’s seriousness.
* pp. 76-77, Emotion and Meaning in Music, University of Chicago Press, 1956