It’s Eclipse Day in the US, and the moon will cast its shadow along a path that stretches across the entire country, allowing everyone (including Alaska and Hawaii) to see at least a partial eclipse. Some lucky folks in a 70-mile-wide band will get to see a total eclipse.
So what does this have to do with classical music?
It is likely that Handel saw the 1715 total eclipse over London. Later, in 1741, he wrote the aria Total Eclipse for his oratorio Samson. You can read more about the aria and that eclipse here.
Today, the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco, the Kronos Quartet, and composer Wayne Grim will produce a sonification of the 2017 total eclipse, turning digital data into music. You can read about it here. You can hear Grim’s interpretation of the 2016 total eclipse in Micronesia here.
If you’re not in the US (or if your skies are cloudy) you can still see the eclipse via webcasts:
NASA coverage beginning at 12PM EDT (GMT-4) https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-live-stream
Exploratorium coverage beginning at 1PM EDT (GMT-4) https://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse
And now, Handel’s Total Eclipse.
Note: If you’re in the US and you don’t have eclipse glasses, you can print out a pinhole projector here, and view the sun’s image safely. Wishing you clear skies!