Today is the day when a 70-mile-wide, 2,500-mile-long stretch of the United States will experience one of outer space’s most amazing events: a total eclipse of the Sun. So, what music does one choose to accompany such a momentous occasion?
The very definition of this event is the Moon blocking the Earth’s view of the Sun, so some lunar-inspired music would seem to be called for, the two most famous and obvious examples being Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Debussy’s (and other composers’) Claire de Lune.
Since this event will cause the sky to darken such that four planets (i.e. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter) will be visible, we could also consider adding the relevant movements of Holst’s The Planets to our list.
Let us not forget that our own humble planet Earth is also part of this unique stellar ballet, so music inspired by our own planet, such as Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, fits in as well.
And even though it is being relegated to the background of this event, let’s not forget to add some music inspired by our Sun. Thanks to the influence of Stanley Kubrick’s "2001: A Space Odyssey", Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra is a choice in many people’s minds for capturing the grandeur and spectacle of this event; the opening moments of the piece, appropriately titled "Sunrise", certainly feature the required fanfare, excitement and power.
Finally, a couple more suggestions:
…and even some original pieces have been commissioned for this event!
Happy listening (and watching!)