Cosmos Cantata.

Author:Doerr, Edd

Cosmos Cantata text by Kurt Vonnegut, music by Seymour Barab, with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra conducted by Richard Auldon Clark Pleasantville, NY: Kleos Classics, 2001): 56 minutes; $15.28 compact disc.

When I was a kid at the end of World War II, I played tuba in the Newsboys Band, which met one night a week in the loft of the old Vonnegut Hardware Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. A few years later, I sang in the choir at Indianapolis' All Souls Unitarian Church, whose chapel had been designed by Kurt Vonnegut's father. Never could I have dreamed that one day Kurt Vonnegut and I would be honorary president and president, respectively, of the American Humanist Association and I would be reviewing this compact disc.

Years ago, Vonnegut attended the New York City premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem, based on the choral mass for the dead promulgated by the Counter-Reformation Council of Trent. He liked the music but found the lyrics so offensive--"terrible and sadistic"--that he rushed home to write a humanist requiem. The text was published in his "autobiographical collage," Fates Worse Than Death, and has now been set to music by New York composer Seymour Barab as the Cosmos Cantata, a title taken...

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