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3rd November 2001
The NOW festival - Janet Cardiff's 'forty part motet'
Janet Cardiff's 'forty part motet'

The virtual choir

A gallery filled with three dozen speakers - each one belting out a single voice which combines to make a magnificent choral performance - We just had to send someone along to check it out.

Janet Cardiff’s award winning ‘forty part motet’ is an emotional and spine tingling piece.

Review by Louise Baker.

The installation consists of forty speakers, each emitting an individual voice from the choir as they sing ‘Spem in Alium’ by the Elizabethan composer Thomas Tallis. The speakers are grouped around the magnificent space at the Future-Peace centre on Russell street, and as a visitor to the piece you walk amongst the music in the most adept surroundings.

The piece is a hauntingly, beautiful and unique event, as it allows you to walk amongst the choir and become cloaked in the experience. It allows for a wholly original approach rather than being positioned in the slightly colder, less intimate environment of the traditional audience positioning, that of being sat in front of the performance.

The visitors to the installation last Sunday were full of admiration and praise. Considering the piece of music lasts fifteen minutes each time it plays (which is continuous over the whole six hour period), many stayed for two, three and even four repeats, working their way between voices and building up to the crescendo of the experience by standing in the centre and allowing themselves to be lost within Tallis’s piece.

‘Forty Part Motet’ really is something for the soul. Situated in a wonderful, imposing building it has the perfect environment in which to take you wherever you choose to go.

Janet Cardiff’s ‘Forty Part Motet’ is open for the duration of the NOW festival, 22nd October until 11th November, everyday from 1pm-7pm. Entry is free and it is on at the Future-Peace centre which is situated on Russell street, Radford, off Forest Road West at the Alfreton Road end.

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Janet Cardiff

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