As the United States prepares for the first solar eclipse to cross the entire Lower 48 in almost a century, lots of outlets are offering up playlists heavy on rock/pop standards like Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” But the classical music catalog is full of worthy selections suitable for the occasion, and not surprisingly, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has performed many of them.
For those in the Path of Totality, the sky will darken so much that four planets will be visible: Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter. Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 (Jupiter), of course, takes its nickname from the Roman god of the skies. Here the CSO, under guest conductor Christoph von Dohnányi, plays the fourth movement of Mozart’s masterwork:
And for a selection that evokes the sun’s awesome power, how about Scriabin’s Promethus, Poem of Fire (which begins at the 19:45 mark).
For the finale, an excerpt from Mason Bates’ tone poem Alternative Energy, for which its composer sampled sounds of Fermilab’s particle accelerator — machines that probe questions of fundamental physics, such as how the universe, including the sun, was created. (From the CSO Resound recording with Riccardo Muti)
TOP: From NASA, an image of a solar eclipse. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons