Janet Cardiff - Forty Part Motet

25 May 2018 – 27 Aug 2018

Event times

Mon - Sat, 10 - 5pm

Cost of entry


Richmond Chapel

England, United Kingdom


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Janet Cardiff’s internationally acclaimed sound installation Forty Part Motet(2001) is at Richmond Chapel in Penzance, a former Wesleyan Chapel and Grade II listed building, usually closed to the public. Cardiff has reworked 16th-century composer Thomas Tallis’s choral masterpiece Spem in alium nunquam habui by recording 40 individual male voices from the Salisbury Cathedral Choir (bass, baritone, alto, tenor and child soprano) and playing each individual voice through its own speaker. The speakers are carefully positioned in eight different groups of five. Each group forms a choir of five singers with different vocal ranges so that the visitor can move amongst the 40 speakers to listen to single voices, or be immersed in the overall complexity of the choral ensemble.

The recording took place in a hall on the grounds of the cathedral. When the singers took a break during the three-hour session, Cardiff and sound editor Georges Bures Miller decided to keep recording; the singers talking and other sounds can be heard as an interlude in the final work, creating an intimate, direct connection between singers and listeners.

A Groundwork exhibition presented by Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange.

Groundwork is a season of international contemporary art in Cornwall from May to September 2018. With a focus on place and an emphasis on moving image, sound and performance, the programme presents new commissions made in Cornwall, together with existing works by internationally acclaimed artists. Groundwork is organised by Helston-based arts organisation CAST (Cornubian Arts & Science Trust).

For further information  www.groundwork.art

Forty Part Motet byJanet Cardiff was originally produced by Field Art Projects with Arts Council England, the Salisbury Festival, BALTIC Gateshead, The New Art Gallery Walsall, and the NOW Festival Nottingham.
Sung by Salisbury Cathedral Choir
Recording and Postproduction by SoundMoves
Edited by George Bures Miller
Produced by Field Art Projects

Art form Toggle


Teresa Gleadowe

Exhibiting artists

Janet Cardiff

Taking part

CAST (Cornubian Arts & Science Trust)

CAST (Cornubian Arts & Science Trust)


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