Off the garden courtyard in the National Gallery is a wondrous space which you hear before you see. The Rideau Convent Chapel is the preserved chapel of The Convent Of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which was erected along Rideau Street back in 1886-87. The Chapel is the only one of its kind built at the time in North America with the Tudor style fan vault ceiling. When the building was sold and demolished in the 1970s, three levels of government and heritage groups worked with the Gallery to save this chapel, which has been relocated here. The architecture as well as the convent's collection is now preserved at the Gallery.
You might notice speakers around the room. That's the part of this a visitor hears first, and the other artistic element of this space. Janet Cardiff devised The Forty Part Motet as a sound sculpture. This is a choral work that adapts a sixteenth century composition, 'Spem in Alium' by the English composer Thomas Tallis. Forty separately recorded parts are played back through these speakers. Walking around the room allows you to take in the choral music piece by piece, with individual voices audible through each speaker in turn, or in the heart of the room listening to it all. It's hard to describe (and unfortunately videos are not allowed, but even then couldn't really convey it in the way that being here in person does), but yes, you stand in here and you can feel the sound. In the words of the panel outside, you're "able to climb inside the music." I am, however, adding in this video link from the Ottawa Citizen that gives you at least a hint of the sound.
Chapel sculptures are around the room. These are wood sculptures, a century or so in age, by the same two sculptors. Angel Holding A Legend is this one, carved by Henri Angers.
Angers also carved Angel Holding A Book.
Across the room are three other sculptures in wood, each carved by Louis Jobin in the 1880s. Saint Peter is the first.
This is Our Lady of Lourdes.
While this is Saint Paul.
Here we have a look back at the first two.
And here is a view of the altar.
This chapel, with its marvelous architecture, is a work of art in and of itself, and the choral music simply adds to it. To say that it was well worth saving is an understatement.