LSM Newswire

Thursday, May 1, 2008

News Release - Janet Cardiff's Forty-Part Motet to be featured at Stratford Summer Music 2008

Stratford, Ont - Forty-Part Motet, a sublime interweaving of ancient music, cutting-edge modern technology and artistic sensibility, will be the centerpiece of the eighth season of Stratford Summer Music.

Created by Canadian artist Janet Cardiff as a sculptural reworking of Thomas Tallisĺ─˘ 1575 choral work Spem in Alium, this sculpturally-conceived sound piece has been lauded by international audiences at Londonĺ─˘s Tate Museum, New Yorkĺ─˘s Museum of Modern Art and Ottawaĺ─˘s National Gallery of Canada.

Forty-Part Motet will be presented daily during Stratford Summer Music at half-hour intervals from 10am to 4:30pm in the downtown City Hall Auditorium, July 22 to August 17, 2008. Admission is by donation.

In this installation, each of the 40 choir voices has been recorded separately and now is played back through one of 40 speakers placed as a circle of sound around the auditorium. Listeners inside the circle can approach each of the singers individually or, by standing in the middle of the room, hear all of them together.

As Ms. Cardiff explains: ĺ─˙Most people would experience this music in their living room in front of only two speakers, so the spatial construction is lost in the mix. Even in a live concert, the audience is separated from the individual voices. Only the performers are able to hear the person standing next to them singing a different harmony. I wanted to be able to ĺ─˛climb insideĺ─˘ the music, connecting with the separate voices. I am also interested in how sound may construct a space in a sculptural way and how the audience may choose a path through this physical yet virtual space.ĺ─¨

Forty-Part Motet was originally commissioned by the Salisbury Festival and performed by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir in 2001. Thomas Tallis, one of the most influential British composers of the 16th century, wrote Spem in Alium to mark the 40th birthday of Queen Elizabeth I. The music, composed for eight choirs of five voices each, deals with transcendence and humility, two important issues to a Catholic composer during a time when his faith was suppressed by the state.

Janet Cardiff, who was born in Brussels, Ontario, not far from Stratford, is best known for her numerous audio works and films, often created in collaboration with her partner George Bures Miller. She has gained international recognition for her audio and video ĺ─˙Walksĺ─¨ in which visitors, while listening to a CD walkman or watching the screen of a camcorder, follow the artistĺ─˘s directions through a site, and become involved in stories embedded in Cardiffĺ─˘s recorded instructions and suggestions.

This tour of Forty-Part Motet is organized by the National Gallery of Canada. When it is not on tour, the work is usually displayed in the Galleryĺ─˘s restored Rideau Chapel in Ottawa.

Stratford Summer Music runs from July 21 to August 17.

Complete concert information at All other tickets: 1-800-567-1600.

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