Curtein opening sounds of the planets – vocalists & elettronica
    On screen text: VULGATA – Psalmus XVIII, 2 | Cristofano MALVEZZI – Sinfonia dal primo intermedio de La Pellegrina, 1589

    A sunset, the last sun rays fall on a peaceful and green countryside: the same countryside that we will see appearing in the final sunrise. Our journey of observation stars here, with one of the pieces written for the celebration of the wedding of Ferdinando I De’ Medici and Cristina of Lorraine. Both Vincenzo and the twenty-five year old Galileo took part in the celebrations as lute players.


    Vincenzo GALILEI – Gagliarda Calliope, 1584
    Voice over: Vincenzo VIVIANI – Racconto istorico della vita del Sig. Galileo Galilei, 1654

    The story of Galileo, the son, brother and uncle of musicians, begins with the first publication of Fronimo by Vincenzo Galilei.


    Michelangelo GALILEI – Toccata prima in re m., 1620
    Voice over: Vincenzo VIVIANI – Racconto istorico della vita del Sig.r Galileo Galilei, 1654

    From the experiments on tension and frequency of strings, in which Galileo assisted his father, to the vocation of
    star gazer.

    Thus the rosette of Vincenzo’s lute transforms into the lens of Galileo’s telescope.


    Giulio CACCINI – Sfogava con le stelle,1602
    Voice over: Galileo GALILEI – Canzone per le stelle Medicee, 1610

    Once he perfected his telescope, Galileo pointed it to the sky, eager to make new discoveries. In 1610 he published the result of his observations, which created an uproar: Siderus Nuncius is the work illustrated in the images in the video. The phases of the moon and its surface, the cluster of the Pleiades which Galileo often drew, but most of all the “Medicean Stars” (as they were called in honor of Cosimo II), appear in front of us. These are the four major satelites orbiting around planet Jupiter: for the first time in history celestial bodies with a center of rotation different from the Earth are mentioned. This is a discovery that marks a point of no return.


    Claudio MONTEVERDI – Dal mio permesso amato da “L’Orfeo”, 1609
    G. B. FONTANASonata Settima a doi violini 

    Voice over: Galileo GALILEI – Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo, 1632

    The Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (published in 1632 and banned by the Catholic Church the following year) is not only a scientific essay, but also a philosophical work and marked the birth of “modern” scientific method, introducing a new concept of Mankind and its relationship to Nature. Galileo described the motion of the universe that he observed, and the images follow the motion of planets, of tides, and of the human body as well.


    Francesco TURINI – Sonata seconda a doi violini e basso, 1621 | Salomone ROSSI – Sinfonia nona, 1623
    Voice over: Galileo GALILEI – Il Saggiatore, 1623

    In his Saggiatore written in 1623, Galileo describes the symptoms of his incipient blindness and observes the optical phenomena of this process which is transformed into images in the video. From an initial blurred perception of light sources, up to the progressive out of focus vision of contours, up to total blindness (provoked by excessive staring into the Sun): his writings are slowly filled with a dark and dense substance, like ink that submerges it all, transforming the pages in bright black plates.


    Biagio MARINI – Sonata sopra La Monica, 1626
    Voice over: Galileo GALILEI – Il Saggiatore, 1623

    «Quel fulgore accessorio delle stelle non è realmente intorno alle stelle, ma è nel nostro occhio»
    scrive Galileo nel Saggiatore

    “That brightness of the stars is not really around the stars, but it is in our eye”, Galileo writes in the Saggiatore. This tale is named after that eye, Galileo’s eye, the origin of vision and observation, that in the end will not see anymore: an eye that is magnified two hundred times up to its finest corneas, veins and capillaries, showing the colourful canyons of the iris and the cosmic black of the pupil. The eye transforms into a thousand worlds, into other galaxies, other constellations.

  • MOON

    Alessandro GRANDI – O quam tu pulchra es, 1625
    Voice over: Galileo GALILEI – Sidereus nuncius, 1610

    The sky is a great milky waterfall into the darkness. In the silence of darkness, Galileo elaborates his theories on the Moon watching it night after nigh. Now we see it too: its oceans, the chains of mountains, the shadows and the splendour.

    Contemporary images from telescopes alternate with Galileo’s astronomic drawings of the Moon found in Sidereus Nuncius.


    Claudio MONTEVERDI – Lamento della Ninfa, 1638
    Voice over: Galileo GALILEI – Lettera a Fulgenzio Micanzio, 1637

    In a letter to a friend, Galileo expresses all of his suffering. What can an ill man going blind do? Here we see him as a man trapped in a Tomograph: the PET images of his brain progressively change shape until they morph into stars and planets, the celestial worlds that the man is dreaming about.


    Girolamo FRESCOBALDI – Così mi disprezzate, 1630
    Voice over: Galileo GALILEI – Roma 22 giugno 1633

    Galileo’s trial ended on June 22 with his condemnation for heresy and the forced abjuration of the theories illustrated in Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo, in which – as the sentence issued states – “a false opinion on the motion of the Earth and the stability of the Sun is spread”. Galileo’s physical blindness is also a metaphore for a man who has seen too much and because of this he will be forcefully blindfolded: on his bandages falls the dark substance that had fallen on the pages of his books in section six of the video.


    Biagio MARINI – Passacalio, 1655
    Voice over: Galileo GALILEI – Sonetto enigmatico ad Antonio Malatesti, 1589

    The mournful notes of the Passacalio by Marini and total darknes evoke the death of Galileo.


    Claudio MONTEVERDI – Ecco di dolci raggi, 1632
    Testo a schermo: Vulgata – Job XXII, 28
    Finale: vocalists & elettronica – suoni dei pianeti

    After reading the Dialogo, Tommaso Campanella wrote to Galileo on August 5, 1632: “These new discoveries about ancient truths, and new worlds, new stars, new systems, new nations etc., are the beginning of a new era”. This is not only the birth of a new era, but also of a new world, of new music and new science. In the epilogue, the dawn that rises on the landscape of the countryside, together with the luminous verse of the Book of Job, and the “sweet rays” of the Sun are evoked by Monteverdi. The sounds of the planets are heard over the video credits.


Fondazione Arcadia