[MusicNow] Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner @ Memorial Hall 3.30.12
April 2nd, 2012 by Matt
“This is the first time you’re hearing these songs. It’s also the first time we’re hearing these songs.”
Composer Nico Muhly shared that gem with us two songs into the “Planetarium” cycle. The trio of Muhly, Sufjan Stevens and Bryce Dessner apparently finished writing, arranging and learning all 11 songs earlier that day. Impressive, considering how well everything went off during the show. There were one or two minor hiccups (which led Muhly to remind us that this was a “workshop” performance), but it was no more than you’d expect from a regular show.
For all the incredible shows I’ve seen at MusicNow, this might be the one that I feel most pleased to have attended. Seeing this incredible trio debut such wonderful music really made this a special night. A huge thanks to the performers and a special Thank You to Bryce Dessner for continuing to give an incredible gift to the Cincinnati area.
More photos as well as setlist/notes after the jump
Here’s the setlist with occasional notes.
Venus (lyrics seemed to be very personal young love material from Sufjan)
Mars (lyrical focus was heavy on the Roman “god of war”)
Pluto (Sufjan played a version of this years ago at Musicnow — he watched a fan recording of that performance to figure out how the song was played)
The Moon / “cold and stark” (insrumental)
Saturn (Nico introduced it as “the one with the raaangs”)
Earth (“only piece in the history of time in which the second violin is in charge of conducting” – Nico)
Mercury (very vocally demanding. Maybe Sufjan’s best vocal work yet)