Forty parts of perfect

Janet Cardiff, The Forty Part Motet, 2001

It starts with a bit of whispering and low-level chatter from around the room but gradually the singing starts, quietly at first but quickly getting louder as different voices join in. Before I know it, the room is full of sound. Whether seated in the centre of the oval of speakers – one for each of the forty voices of the Salisbury Cathedral Choir singing Thomas Tallis’s Spem in alium – or wandering among the speakers picking up individual voices, this is not a soundscape it’s possible to experience in the concert hall.

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