Long before we could use astronomy apps on our smartphones, the ancients closely followed the position of the sun in the sky. Monuments and structures around the world were designed with the annual cycles of the sun in mind, and some even align in special ways on the days of the solstices and equinoxes.
During this year’s summer solstice, on June 21, the Earth was tilted toward the sun at its most extreme angle, with the sun directly over the Tropic of Cancer, at 23.5 degrees north latitude. Those in the Northern Hemisphere experienced the maximum intensity of the sun’s rays and the most hours of sunlight of the entire year.
In some parts of the world, people blend pagan and Christian traditions to celebrate Midsummer in conjunction with Saint John the Baptist’s birthday on June 24, which can include bonfires, barefoot walks and more. Others recognize the longest day of the year with such traditions as baseball games, polar plunges and visits to prehistoric monuments.
We chose two completely different musical expressions of this annual celebration, widening the lens on the beauty of music.
The Dranoff2 Piano