Antiphon 1 for speaker and instrumental ensemble

Antiphon 1
is a dialog between the speaker and the instrumental ensemble. 
It is in praise of the scientific revolution and the expansion of knowledge that it has created.
The instrumental ensemble consists of flute, Bb clarinet, F horn, violin and cello.
Each of the instruments plays as a soloist, in duets, and in the full ensemble.
These alternate with the words of the speaker, often in imitation of the rhythm and
inflection of the words.

The words are based on "Skeptics and True Believers" by Chet Raymo:

The Scientific Revolution gave expression to a radical new idea,
an idea that had been perking away in the background of human thought since the Greeks,
perhaps the most revolutionary idea in the history of human thought:
The cosmos exists, independently of ourselves.

We are small, contingent parts of something that existed long before we appeared on the scene.
Human life could vanish from the planet, and the cosmos will continue.
We are as incidental to the cosmos as are ephemeral mayflies to the planet Earth.

At first glance, this was shattering news.
 Indeed,the majority of us have not yet come to terms with it.
We reject science as an instrument of revelation because we are made uncomfortable by what it reveals:
Our lives are brief, our fate is oblivion.

But there is an upside to this new knowledge, if we are smart enough to perceive it.
Once we admit that the world exists in its own right,
it becomes possible to know the world on its own terms
and celebrate the world as it really is.

  play sound (click to play audio)

Antiphon 1 for Speaker and Instruments