I’ve long been aware of Garrett Fisher’s opera Stargazer, which presents the confrontation of Galileo and Church authorities. This piece from the production illustrates the composer’s style with voice and instruments. Others are on YouTube, I noticed.
Nikolaus Copernicus played his theory very cagily. A sun-centered universe got some ill-inclined notice, but not much. The Church might have been more confrontational with Galileo because the Italian had two things. First, he was more personally confrontational. And two, he had evidence Copernicus didn’t–viewing planets in his telescope. Trust me: people get more angry when you bring the facts that don’t support the status quo.
I have no idea what Górecki’s intention was with this piece. A scientific revolution causes upheaval for both mind and heart. The first movement represents that. In the second, I imagined myself, the listener, transported into space. The music is more reminiscent of the famous third symphony. After a revolution, there comes peace. In a scientific revolution, the final resistance is more the stuff of comedy than anything else I can recall.