Spem In Alium


The Forty Part Motet is a sound installation by Janet Cardiff, a 40 track recording of Spem In Alium by Thomas Tallis presented at The Cloisters in Upper Manhattan by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I heard about it from David Byrne:

In Cardiff’s piece, the singers—all 40 of them—are recorded, each on their own mic and track. In the installation, each individual voice is played back through their own speaker. The speakers are roughly arranged in a circle at head height. One assumes this is how they were positioned during the recording. The nature of the Tallis composition is that various groups of voices come and go, sing or remain silent for a bit: if you are standing by a speaker you might hear nothing for a while then suddenly a person’s voice booms out, with absolute clarity, as if they’re right next to you. So, depending on where you’re standing in the room, you hear a completely different balance of voices. Unless you’re in the center of the installation, you will hear some voices way louder than others.

There’s a moving review in the New York Times.

Frames of reference

Tree Of Life

brain tree

I’ve been reading Lawrence Weschler’s Everything That Rises: A Book Of Convergences. The title comes from Flannery O’Connor’s collection of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge. She took her title from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point which contains the lines: Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge. Continue reading “Tree Of Life”

Frames of reference