VIDEO: Rhys Chatham's Crimson Grail at Liverpool Cathedral for the Biennial
HERE is a short film I made of Rhys Chatham's Liverpool Biennial performance of Crimson Grail - an orchestrated piece performed by 100 guitars. He had originally hoped there would be more but electrical regulations wouldn't allow it. Still, 100 guitarists was quite impressive visually (good look spotting them on this video - I wasn't in a great position) and any more would have taken up seats that the audience used. There was a huge queue of people wanting to get into Liverpool Cathedral to watch and in the end not everyone made it in.
By the time I got inside it was standing room only, so I perched on a step to film this video. It isn't ideal but it does give you a flavour of the event - 90 minutes cut down to just three - and you can see the conductors communicating with one another (Chatham is the one in black) and sometimes holding up pieces of paper to instruct the musicians.
The sounds they managed to coax out of the electric guitars were really interesting. At times it seemed that they were playing entirely different instruments. One section of the piece sounded like a string orchestra.
Since I posted the video on YouTube, it has received a couple of comments from people who were there, including one of the performers:
It was thrilling to be in the audience for this standing room only event - who got a well deserved standing ovation at the end!
Was amazing to be a member of this ensemble, just a fantastic 4 day experience. Thanks to everyone involved ;)