Commissioned by Peter Oakes for the Thomas Hardye Singers this recording is the second performance with the Occasional Singers. The soloists are Louise Wayman and Gareth Jones, with Peter directing.
Dialogo dei due massimi sistemi del mondo –
[“Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems” Scientific research officially banned by the Church late in April 1633. Galileo was placed under house arrest for an unlimited period. He died in 1641, having gone blind.]
The text was compiled/written by me, and makes use of sayings of both Galileo and the Catholic Church:
As day follows night So Galileo was right One universal truth Followed another [RB]
In questions of science The authority of a thousand Is not worth the humble reasoning Of a single individual [Galileo]
What would you say of the learned here Who have steadfastly refused To cast a glance Through the telescope What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh Or shall we cry? [A letter written by Galileo in 1610 to Kepler]
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God Who has endowed us with sense Reason And intellect Has intended us To forgo their use [Galileo]
All truths are easy to understand Once they are discovered The point is To discover them [Gallileo]
Simplico [in the Dialogo the character Simplicius is the defender of the Aristotelian Geocentric view, and Pope Urban VIII took offence, thinking the character referred to him] the holy fool Found Galileo – the Wrangler – On his holy Mount With the Inquisition [the Inquisition trial was held in April 1633] as his tool Forced him to recant And thus avoid a burning The Earth continued turning And science its learning [RB]
I have never met a man so ignorant That I couldn't learn something from him [Galileo]
The square-cube law And Pisa’s cannon-balls Falling, as everyone saw, Through the ruins Of Aristotle’s hallowed halls, Stood learning on its head [RB]
You can plainly see that if a horse Were to fall from a height Of three or four feet It could break its bones Whereas a dog Would not suffer injury
The same applies to a cat From a height of as much as Eight or ten feet
To a grasshopper From the top of a tower
And to an ant Falling down from the moon
Nature could not allow a horse To become as big as Twenty horses Nor a giant As big as ten men
Unless she were to change The proportions of all its members Particularly the bones
Thus the common assumption That great and small structures Are equally tough Is obviously Wrong [From the Discorsi - scientific prose of Gallileo: commonsense observations used to dismiss a common misconception and hints at a rational way ahead. The examples highlight how Aristotle's theories are mistaken.]
If the Earth is a planet, And only one among several planets, It cannot be that any such great things Have been done specially for it As the Christian doctrine teaches. If there are other planets, Since God makes nothing in vain, They must be inhabited; But how can their inhabitants Be descended From Adam? How can they trace back their origin To Noah's Ark? How can they have been redeemed By the Saviour? [Church scholar Cardinal Bellarmin was chief amongst those demanding Galileo's recantation. This declaration was contemporary Church scholarship.]
Eppur si muove! And yet it moves! [Famously uttered by Galileo shortly after his recantation]
I wrote and printed a book In which I discuss this doctrine Already condemned, And adduce arguments of great cogency In its favour, Without presenting any solution of these; And for this cause I had been pronounced by the Holy Office To be vehemently suspected Of heresy, That is to say, Of having held and believed That the sun is the centre of the world And immovable, And that the Earth Is not the centre And moves:
Eppur si muove! And yet it moves!
So help me God, And these His holy Gospels, Which I touch with my hands.
I, Galileo Galilei, Have abjured as above With my own hand [From Galileo's recantation of his heliocentric ideas, recited at Rome, In the Convent of Minerva, on 22nd June 1633.]
Eppur si muove! And yet it moves!
New conditions have their impact finally On religious life itself. The rise of a critical spirit Purifies it of a magical view of the world And of superstitions That still circulate, And it exacts a more personal And explicit Adherence to faith; As a result, Many persons are achieving A more vivid sense Of God [from the Vatican Council, “Gaudium et spes” No.7. This is the Catholic Church's contemporary view of the collaboration of religion and modern science. It was given in an address by Pope John Paul II on November 10th 1979 at the Einstein session of the Pontifical Academy of Science, Vatican City. It was not until 31st October 1992 that Pope John Paul II officially announced that the Church had mishandled the case of Galileo]
Eppur si muove! The old man muttered And yet it moves! The old earth trembling On its axis, and briefly, briefly stuttered Aging certainties quietly dissembling: As day follows night And sight becomes blind So Galileo was right And sound of mind. One universal truth Followed another [RB]