THE scene at Damrosch Park last August promised something spectacular: amplifier setups for 200 guitarists and 16 bassists, configured in a horseshoe that stretched along the south end of Lincoln Center, across the front of the park’s band shell, and curved up alongside the Metropolitan Opera House. The rehearsals for “A Crimson Grail,” an epic-scale work by the experimental composer Rhys Chatham, had gone exceedingly well — first at the nearby Church of St. Paul the Apostle, then, at 1 p.m. on the day of the event, in the park.
On Aug. 8, in another of the city’s remarkable season of free concerts, the plan is to try it all again. But this time there will be risers for the musicians, tenting and a different electrical plan. In addition to the opportunity to bask in a highly unusual concert, the United States premiere of “A Crimson Grail” will offer a chance to witness the homecoming of a prodigal son of New York Minimalism, an art-music composer who has had a tremendous, if underappreciated, impact in the world of rock. After last year’s washout, which received a lot of blog attention, word is getting out; if the weather is good, Lincoln Center is expecting a crowd of more than 10,000.