For the first time in almost a century, a total solar eclipse—where the moon blocks the sun entirely—takes over the skies over North America on Monday, August 21. While those downstate near Carbondale will have the region’s best views, here in Chicago the moon will block 87% of the sun (weather permitting!).
The eclipse will take place from approximately noon to 3pm here in the city, and all that time gazing up toward the sky (with proper eyewear, of course!) means that we’ll need the perfect music to accompany nature’s show. With so many composers looking to the heavens for inspiration, there are plenty of planetary works to choose from. Check out our picks for the perfect eclipse soundtrack:
Symphony Orchestra’s 2013 performance of Ligeti’s Atmosphères
Charles Ives’ Universe Symphony
Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata
Haydn Symphonies 6 (Le matin, “morning”), 7 (Le midi, “noon”), and 8 (Le soir, “evening”), which chart the path of the sun.
Aaron J. Kernis’ Musica Celestis
The astronomer Frederick Herschel (1738-1822) was also an accomplished composer.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Baxter also suggested picking a sun and moon piece and playing them on top of each other for a truly Ivesian twist on the occasion!