You might think twelve hours of music would be difficult to sit through, but Bang on a Can's constantly morphing landscape (and a few cups of coffee) made it seem easy. At least two other intrepid listeners--Steve Smith and Darcy James Argue--also stayed for the long haul, to witness a sublime sunrise performance of Stockhausen's Stimmung by Toby Twining's extraordinary six-singer group. More detail later, but other highlights: Donnacha Dennehy's Grá agus Bás by the Crash Ensemble from Ireland, Bang on a Can All-Stars in the much-anticipated Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen premiere, Bora Yoon's ( ((Phonation)) ) for cellphone and vocals with absorbing graphics by R. Luke DuBois, and a moving reading of Steve Reich's Daniel Variations by SIGNAL, conducted by Brad Lubman. (And get-well wishes to Alex Ross, who posted even more links and you-are-there photos.)
So after a brief nap I bit the bullet (yes, a little crazy) and went to hear Spatial Explorations, an exceptional program by Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra. Along with rarities by Takemitsu and Panufnik came the United States premiere of Rued Langgaard's Sfaerernes musik (Music of the Spheres), an astonishing score from 1918 with effects that anticipate Ligeti by almost 50 years.
Why show up, slightly bleary after hanging out all night at the World Financial Center? Except for Ligeti's Atmosphères, which ended the afternoon, I don't expect to ever hear any of these pieces live again.