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Watch The National perform “Sorrow” for six straight hours

on May 05, 2013, 8:43pm

the national sorrow

After today, it’s hard to imagine that The National will ever want to perform “Sorrow” again. As part of an original work by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson titled, A Lot of Sorrow, the band performed the High Violet track for six straight hours at the MoMA PS1 in Long Island City earlier today.

As the museum’s website explains:

By stretching a single pop song into a day-long tour de force the artist continues his explorations into the potential of repetitive performance to produce sculptural presence within sound.

Sorrow found me when I was young,
Sorrow waited, sorrow won

commences the song by The National, whose music and lyrics repeatedly conjure notions of romantic suffering and contemporary Weltschmerz—themes Kjartansson often uses in his own work employing references as wide-ranging as Ingmar Bergman, the German Romantics, and Elvis Presley. As in all of Kjartansson’s performances, the idea behind A Lot of Sorrow is devoid of irony, yet full of humor and emotion. It is another quest to find the comic in the tragic and vice versa.

Here’s what it looked like…

Two hours and 40 minutes into the performance:

Four hours into the performance:

At least they kept their sense of humor all the way until the end.

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 7.30.50 PM

Fortunately, The National will have plenty of other tracks to play come May 21st when their new album, Trouble Will Find Me, hits stores via 4AD. Pre-orders are ongoing.

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