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A Crimson Grail

A Crimson Grail cover art

Track Listing

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1Part 135:15
2Part 210:31
3Part 321:54

News & Reviews

  • Rhys Chatham Returns to New York's The Kitchen to Perform Multimedia Piece "Time Out" Picks As Top Live Show

    Rhys Chatham, whose Lincoln Center Out of Doors performance of A Crimson Grail was released last month on Nonesuch, returns to New York and to the cutting-edge cultural space he once curated: The Kitchen. Chatham and artist Angie Eng perform the a multimedia piece, Echodes, there Friday and Saturday. Time Out New York recommends it as Top Live Show and calls A Crimson Grail "gorgeous." Hear selections from A Crimson Grail in a short film at

  • Video: Rhys Chatham's "A Crimson Grail" Scores Short Film Shot on Kodachrome Super 8mm

    Rhys Chatham made his Nonesuch debut last month with the release of A Crimson Grail, featuring the 200-guitar version recorded at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival. The New York Times says: "It might justly be considered 'music to pray to.’” Now you can experience that music through a short film set to music from the album, shot on rolls of expired, unexposed Kodachrome Super 8mm film. Watch it here.

About this Album

Nonesuch Records releases A Crimson Grail—Rhys Chatham’s work for large electric guitar orchestra—on September 14, 2010. Written in 2005 as a commission for the city of Paris, A Crimson Grail premiered at the basilica of Sacré-Coeur. It was created to work with the specific architecture of the basilica, making use of its natural 15-second reverberation time. The musicians surrounded the audience, creating an antiphonal effect with the sound moving around the space from area to area. Scored for as many as 400 guitarists, an orchestra of approximately 125 musicians performed the premiere, to great acclaim. The Dallas Observer said of a recording of that concert, “Beautifully intricate and harmonically dense, A Crimson Grail is nearly ambient in tone while pursuing a beauty that never seems beyond its scope.”

When Lincoln Center Out of Doors and Wordless Music invited Chatham to mount A Crimson Grail in New York at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, the composition had to be completely reworked for the acoustics of an exterior, non-reverberant setting. The Nonesuch recording captures the subsequent 2009 performance, in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, with 200 electric guitars, 16 electric basses, five conductors, and one percussionist.

Rhys Chatham is a composer, guitarist, and trumpet player from Manhattan, currently living in Paris. He was the founder of the music program at The Kitchen in downtown Manhattan in 1971 and was its music director between 1971–73 and 1977–80. While at The Kitchen he was responsible for programming more than 250 concerts of living composers including the NEW MUSIC / NEW YORK Festival, which was the prototype upon which the NEW MUSIC AMERICA Festival was later based. Chatham studied under, was influenced by, or has collaborated with Maryanne Amacher, Don Cherry, Tony Conrad, Jon Hassell, Charlemagne Palestine, Eliane Radigue, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Morton Subotnick, Serge Tcherepnin, and La Monte Young, among many others.

With Rhys Chatham’s composition Guitar Trio (1977), he became the first composer to make use of multiple electric guitars in special tunings to merge the extended-time music of the ’60s and ’70s with serious hard rock. Chatham continued this pursuit over the next decade, culminating in 1989 with the composition and performance of his first symphony for an orchestra of 100 electric guitars, An Angel Moves Too Fast to See.


Bill Abdale, John Allen, Ernest Anderson, Ed Arndt, Daniel Bailen, Brendan Baker, Lindsay Baker, John Banister, Salima Barday, Asim Barnes, Jason Bartell, Ethan Bassford, Brian Beatrice, Martin Beeler, Brad Bennett, Cain Blanchard, Casey Block , Travis Bogosian, Gabriel Bonanno, Giancarlo Bracchi, Christopher Brokaw, Ernest Brooks, Bill Brovold, Gus Brovold, Andrew Burnes, Sal Cataldi, Oliver Chapoy, Noah Chasin, Manon Chatham, George Chen, Jeff Ciprioni, Ty Citerman, Tiziano Cocciò, Rob Cohn, Heather Coleman, Craig Colorusso, Evan Cordes, Michael Cumella, Anthony D’Amato, Eric Davich, Vincent Del Basso, Garrett Devoe, Eddie Dias, Joe Dizney, Christopher Doyle, James Duncan, Kat Dyson, Meghan Dzyak, Olumide Earth, Paul Edwards, Zachary Fairbrother, Brad Farberman, Robert Fellman, Sean Ferguson, Shannon Fields, Steve Five, Justin Foley, Patrick Foley, Chris Forsyth, Eric Freund, Emilie Friedlander, Derek Gaines, Bernard Gann, John Garland, Anthony Gedrich, Aaron Gemmill, Chris Georges, Thomas Gerke, Geoff Gersh, Doug Gillard, Devon Goldberg, Michael Goldman, Brian Good, Kurt Gottschalk, Michael Green, Wavley Groves, Brady Gunnell, Bryce Hackford, Hugh Haggerty, David Haiman, Ryan Hansen, Stefan Happ, Gavin Harper, William Harvey, Robert Hatch-Miller, Matt Hayes, Ian Henderson, Dave Herr, Cary Hirschstein, Jaime Hodge, Stephen Hoffman, Adam Holofcener, Kim Howie, Melissa Huffsmith-Roth, Trevor Hunter, J Ivcevich, Dana Janssen, Kevin Jones, Justin Kantor, Brian Kastan, Nicholas Kuepfer, David Kurutz, Patrick Kwon, Richard Lainhart, David Leonard, Claudio Lescano, Nick Lesley, Alex Lewis, Ezer Lichtenstein, Sarah Lipstate, David Little, Vincent Lo Verme, Naomi Lore, Tristram Lozaw, Amy Madden, Robert Madler, Julian Maile, Mark Maloof, Dennis Marmon, James Martin, Aaron Martinez, Bob Maynard, Tom McCauley, Colter McCorkindale, Kenneth McKim, Jason McMahon, Jason Meeks, Matthew Mehlan, John Melillo, Lucio Menegon, Gustav Mergins, Benjamin Metzger, Kevin Micka, Brent Miles, James Morganti, Warren Ng, Tyler Nolan, Valerie Opielski, Akwetey Orraca-Tetteh, Ryan Pape, Keith Patchel, Rene Penaloza-Galvan, Bob Petrocelli, Vito Petruzzelli, Jon Philpot, Duane Pitre, Robert Poss, Arthur Purvis, Michael Quoma, Gar Ragland, Sean Redmond, Benjamin Reid, Charles Rhyner, James Ross, Lou Rossi, Nicholas Sadler, Victor Salazar, Jessica Salzinski, David Satkowski, Doug Schrashun, Danielle Schwob, Scrote, Jodi Shapiro, Sara Shapouri, Tim Shrout, Mathias Sias, Larry Simon, David Sims, Marc Sloan, Franziska Staubli, Josh Steinbauer, Lauren Stockner, Matthew Stone, Konstantinos Stratigos, Martha Swetzoff, Matthew Taylor, Andrew Thomas, Greg Timm, Scott Townsend, Stefanos Tsigrimanis, Brian Turner, William Tyler, Kip Uhlhorn, Jeremias Umana, Harvey Valdes, Michael Vallera, Bryan Vargas, Ben Vida, Derek Vockins, David Vogt, Giancarlo Vulcano, Lance Walker, Seth Colter Walls, Elia Weg, Ian Weinberger, Byron Westbrook, Matthew Whyte, Trevor Williams, Adam Wills, Elliot Winard, Marcin Wisniewski, Kurt Wolf, Greg Wolfe, Daniel Zlotsky, Joshua Zucker
Composer and Conductor: Rhys Chatham
Concertmaster: David Daniell
Section Leaders: David Daniell, Section 1; Seth Olinsky, Section 2; John King, Section 3; Ned Sublette, Section 4
Producer and Manager: Regina Greene, Front Porch Productions
Technical Director: Eric Block

Recorded live at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival, Damrosch Park, New York, August 8, 2009
Recording and Mixing Engineer: Eric Block, Chicago, IL
Live Recording Assistant: Eric Horowitz / West West Side Music, New York, NY
Mastering Engineer: Collin Jordan / The Boiler Room, Chicago, IL
Design by: John Gall
Cover Art: Robert Longo
Photography: Paula Court
Producer: Regina Greene
Executive Producer for Wordless Music: Ronen Givony

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