Forty-part Motet

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Norfolk & Norwich Festival event at St Peter Parmentergate, Norwich


> St Peter Parmentergate, Norwich

Celebrated and celebratory Thomas Tallis's Forty-part Motet “Spem in Alium” is one of the glories of Elizabethan music.

It appears triumphantly in a fresh guise in this original interpretation by Janet Cardiff.

It is not a matter of changing the notes or performing them differently.

What is new is the way we are invited to listen to them.

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In the bare nave of the old church stand 40 loudspeakers in a great oval.

The audience is invited to walk around, creating as they do so their own perspectives on the rich patterns of sound.

Pausing by any one of the speakers, you can concentrate on just one of the parts, sung for the most part by a single voice that has qualities of tone and colour of its own.

But then you can move on and enjoy another, making contrasts that bring out individuality.

After that, you can step back again further until you reach the centre.

There it is possible to relish the artistry that blends all these individuals into a unity that satisfies by combining so much variety in

one overwhelming experience.

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