Thursday, June 16, 2011

Humanist Funerals

by Edd Doerr

Prometheus Books has just republished Corliss Lamont's book A Humanist Funeral Service and Celebration, with additional material by Beth Lamont and J. Sierra Oliva (2011, 46 pp, $13). Humanist celebrants and others will find the book very useful.

While we are on the subject of humanist funerals, let me recommend a long piece for chorus and small orchestra by Clif Hardin, the music director of River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland. "Requiem" is a magnificent, moving piece of half an hour or so using the poetry of Edna St Vincent Millay, Christina Rossetti, Hilda Doolittle, Emily Dickenson, Bhartrihari, Helen Keller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Archibald Rutledge, and John Buxton. A recording is available for $15 from the composer, Clif Hardin, 16940 Baederwood Lane, Derwood MD 20855-2013.

(Disclosure: The composer is a friend of mine. I was a member of his choir for five years and a few weeks ago sang in a choir that performed Requiem.)

Let me also recommend The Cosmos Cantata, with text by Kurt Vonnegut and music by Seymour Barab. This wonderful piece for soloists and orchestra is available on a CD from Kleos Classics. The recording is by the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Richard Auldon Clark.

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