This has not been an especially productive week, largely due to an ongoing bout of insomnia that is making my brain even slower to function than usual. My only blog post for the week was a short note on the drawing Phases of the Moon by, or at least attributed to, Galileo. Many people expressed appreciation for this post, mostly, I believe, because this lovely drawing isn’t especially well known.
Most of this week’s Salon is devoted to lists, which partly serve to remind me that I did actually do something in the last seven days.
Books in progress
Michael Knight and Joseph Z. Chang (eds.): Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy
Joseph Campbell: Sake and Satori: Asian Journals – Japan
Recent music listening
Havergal Brian: Orchestral Music Vol. 2: Music from the Operas (Toccata Classics)
Henri Dutilleux: Orchestral, Piano and Chamber Masterworks (Virgin Classics)
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (self-titled first album, 2012 remaster) (Razor & Tie)
Pink Martini and Saori Yuki: 1969 (Heinz Records)
Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI: Mare Nostrum (Alia Vox)
The Secret Museum of Mankind Vol. 1 – Ethnic Music Classics: 1925-48 (Yazoo)
Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route: Borderlands (Smithsonian Folkways)
Films seen in the last week or so
The Decameron (1971, dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini)
Dracula’s Daughter (1936, dir. Lambert Hillyer)
Rashomon (1950, dir. Akiri Kurosawa)
Red Psalm (1972, dir. Miklós Jancsó)
Take This Waltz (2011, dir. Sarah Polley)
Unmistaken Child (2008, dir. Nati Baratz)
Wife (1953, dir. Mikio Naruse)
Returning to the subject of Galileo for a moment, he came from a very musical family. His father Vincenzo was a well-known lute player, composer, and teacher. Vincenzo was also a noted music theorist, having studied the relationship between string tension and pitch, and is even credited with being one of the inventors of recitative in opera. Both Galileo’s younger brother Michelagnolo (sometimes spelled Michelangelo) and son Vincenzo were also lutenists. As a special Sunday Salon musical bonus, here is the great Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes performing, on the beautiful custom ten-string guitar he co-invented, the Saltarello generally attributed to Galileo’s father Vincenzo Galilei.