The weather forecast for tomorrow looks uncertain, come the evening–shades of last year, when the New York premiere of Rhys Chatham’s epic, maximalist, 200-guitar-featuring Crimson Grail was scratched at the last minute in a torrent of rain and dangerously exposed wires. First commissioned by the city of Paris for their 2005 La Nuit Blanche Festival, Chatham’s piece originally sported an orchestra of 400 players, who performed in and outside the Sacre-Coeur for something approaching 12 hours straight. The piece was broadcast on French national television, and later excerpted on a stellar and frankly moving LP on the Table of Elements imprint. This year, Lincoln Center has all sorts of contingency plans–this thing is coming off, rain or shine–but at the moment, it looks like it won’t come to that, and thank god. Skeptics or people indifferent to the virtues of a free, once-in-a-lifetime performance should maybe check out the audio currently streaming at Chatham’s site. Or, you know, just swing by. The festivities start tomorrow at 7:30pm, when Liquid Liquid (!) open.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 7, 2009