Eclipsis lunae for Orchestra

By Barbara Harbach
Catalogue Number: H964
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Eclipsis lunae for Orchestra

When the people saw that the moon was beginning to cover the sun, they became deeply distressed and anxious.  To drive out the evil spirit that was covering the sun, they thought that music might dispel the darkness.  First, they offered up a prayer by having the instruments play while sneaking in on each other; as the sky grew darker, the timpani brought in a tranquil melody that rises toward the sky in worship for the sun.  Perhaps the music needs to be louder, so they combined the music of the opening with the snare drum and other percussion instruments ushering in a loud Dies Irae.  Still, the sun was disappearing, so the trumpets began a fanfare, but the fanfare was not strong enough to stop the moon covering the sun.  In a panic, they tried an homage to the sun, In Memoriam, a solemn dirge.  It did not stop the creeping darkness, so they tried a snare drum and timpani solo with slow-moving chords.  The sun was almost gone, so the last effort was to invoke a jazz-style piece alternating with some of the previous melodies.  As the sun began to reappear and get larger, the people rejoiced in ‘how high the moon,’ joyously playing the song that Ella Fitzgerald made famous.