Bruce Mahin: Galileo

  • ©, , Galileo



Artist(s) and People Involved:


Artist Statement:

    For electronic wind instrument, interactive computer and synthesizers.


    During his lifetime, Galileo’s theories about the earth as a celestial body revolving around the sun put into question many of the doctrines supported at the time by the Catholic church. One such doctrine placed man as a divine creature living on an earth residing at the center or the universe. The suggestion that the earth might actually be one of many celestial bodies circling the sun put into question some of the “literal” explanations held by the church and, therefore resulted in the scientist taking severe admonitions from the papal powers. The mathematician’s struggle to stand firm in his beliefs lasted the whole of his life until he, under great duress, recanted the theories and promised to deny their validity in published works. Using the life of Galileo as a point of inspiration, this work examines the nature of exploration and discovery as an exciting, often dangerous, enterprise. In this piece, the performer plays a written score, the computer follows along, makes musical decisions, and performs its own accompaniment using algorithms in real time. Galileo was composed while the composer worked at Glasgow University (Scotland) on an honorary research fellowship in 1996.


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