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Classical Notes

Vonnegut argues against his own atheism

Posted at 2:05 PM on April 12, 2007 by Don Lee

In remembering Kurt Vonnegut today, NPR's Morning Edition included this quote from Vonnegut's final essay collection:

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: 'The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music.'"

Music by Bach dominates the soundtrack in the 1972 movie version of Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse Five. When I think of the movie, I recall the music first--especially what we hear near the opening, where the young soldier Billy Pilgrim trudges through the snow. If my memory is accurate, it's the slow movement from Bach's Keyboard Concerto in F minor. Glenn Gould, who advised on the soundtrack, performed.

Today I'm thinking that music, on its own, could well have been Vonnegut's proof.