Before you don your viewing glasses and turn your gaze to the sky on Monday, August 21st, turn on your radio for a special soundtrack curated especially for the total solar eclipse! Beginning at 8am and lasting until noon, All Classical Portland will offer programming designed to complement and enhance this spectacular natural event. Featured works will include Richard Strauss’ magnificent tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra, made famous by its iconic use in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey; ethereal selections from Gustav Holst’s The Planets; Carl Nielsen’s dramatic and evocative Helios Overture, an homage to the Sun God; and Claude Debussy’s beloved Clair de Lune (Moonlight), woven with Jacques Offenbach’s “Barcarolle” from the opera The Tales of Hoffmann (O Belle Nuit…) – a most beautiful duet depicting the beauty of night and day.
This special radio program will climax as the eclipse reaches totality in Salem with a WORLD PREMIERE broadcast, specially commissioned and recorded for the occasion by All Classical Portland. Composed by renowned Irish musician and scholar Desmond Earley, the new work is scored for choir, cello, and bass drum. Performers include Portland’s outstanding choir the Resonance Ensemble, Oregon Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Nancy Ives, Chris Whyte of the Portland Percussion Group, and improvisational vocalist Erick Valle.
“There is a rich, relational history between the cosmos and classical music: composers have long been inspired by the sun, the moon and the stars, and ancient philosophers imagined a “Music of the Spheres” to explain the movement of celestial bodies. In keeping with that tradition, All Classical Portland has crafted a beautiful constellation of sounds to accompany this mysterious astronomical event and bring Oregonians together in a spirit of rapturous wonder.” – John Pitman, Music Director
Tune in around Oregon by way of All Classical Portland’s seven FM repeater stations. Download the free All Classical Portland app or visit allclassical.org to listen with headphones on mobile devices. Please note that cellular data service may be compromised due to the massive influx of visitors, so terrestrial radio may well be the most reliable option of the two!
Those in Portland for the occasion are invited to join a viewing event hosted by the Rose Festival in Tom McCall Waterfront Park (more information at rosefestival.org). Find a seat next to All Classical Portland’s panel truck to hear the soundtrack projected live!
Christa Wessel’s Eclipse Promo
Check out this short preview from rehearsal for “The Body of the Moon.”