Cosmos

For SATB Choir and Piano

A choral suite using the text of 20th-century astronomer and science popularizer, Carl Sagan. Recorded by Antiphony at the Manitoba Museum (Planetarium) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on May 29th, 2012.

There are three movements:

Mvt. 1 is about discovery…

Somewhere, somewhere…
The sky calls to us.
If we do not destroy ourselves,
we will someday venture to the stars.

Somewhere, somewhere…
Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were,
but without it, we go nowhere.

We make our world significant by the courage of our questions
and the depth of our answers.

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known…
If we do not destroy ourselves,
we will someday venture to the stars.

Mvt. 2 is about beauty…

The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it,
but the way those atoms are put together.

The cosmos is also within us,
we are made of star stuff.

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

We are made of star stuff!

The beauty, the beauty…

Mvt. 3 is about space at large and our place in it…

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first create the universe.

[The universe is] neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.
The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.
We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and it’s [a lifetime]…

Somewhere, somewhere…

If you wish to make…

On a personal level, Carl Sagan has taught me how beautiful science and the universe can be, and that understanding something enriches the experience, but doesn’t take away from the mystery that draws us to the big questions of life. He taught me that the sciences are wondrous; the natural world is elegant; and for such small creatures as we, the vastness is bearable only through love 🙂

Text by Carl Sagan, all rights to the text owned by the Sagan Estate (but permission given to share as a labour of love and the proliferation of scientific literacy).  No money can be made from the sale or performance of this work.

Composed by Kenley Kristofferson (@kenley_k)
Recorded by Antiphony  (@antiphony_)
at the Manitoba Museum (Planetarium) + (@MBMuseum)
Engineered by Jonathan Pearce
Video by Callum C. J. Sutherland
Text by Carl Sagan
Cover Image by Paul Duffield

18 thoughts on “Cosmos

  1. I listened to this on Soundcloud, via Phil Plait’s link BA/Twitter link. Within 5 minutes, I was sobbing out loud and wiping back tears — so beautiful, so masterfully done. I am a longtime singer and a diehard agnostic who often has said that I only really believe in God when I sing. Your work reminds me that science and religion have the same goals — to peel back the veils of the physical, and reveal the heart/soul/mind of the Universe. Thank you.

  2. Wonderful vocal performances, but I wish your piano had a richer tonal quality – is it an upright? And it could have been mic’ed better for the recording. Don’t mean to be persnickety, but such a lovely composition deserves the best instrumentation and audio engineering!

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