Sufjan Stevens recently teamed up with classical music composer Nico Muhly and The National’s Bryce Dessner to create an album inspired by the Solar System, called ‘Planetarium’.
The trio recently performed the album’s closing track ‘Mercury’ for NPR Music. Along with viola player Nadia Sirota, they filmed the live recording at Reservoir Studios in New York, and it’s a beautiful watch.
NPR’s Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey writes, “Like many of the pieces on the record, [Mercury’s] lyrics are a constellation of the cosmic, the personal and the mythological. The song, named for the messenger god, is a perfect musical setting for the feeling of having something dear carried away from you. ‘All that I've known to be of life / and I am gentle,’ Stevens sings. ‘You ran off with it all.’”
‘Planetarium’ was originally composed on commission for the Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, and was first performed there back in 2012.
Sufjan Stevens recently explained the idea behind ‘Planetarium’ to the blog All Songs Considered, saying, “Life is so abundant here, and yet we're so obsessed with the exterior of here…That's what's so interesting, there's a sort of beautiful, perfect order to life on earth that's so mysterious and so profound. And yet, as people, we really [mess] it up. We're so dysfunctional. And we seek guidance from the exterior world — from the heavens — to help us understand our purpose here, and to sort of create a sense of order."
Watch their captivating live performance below.