Rickards, taking time out from her day job as an art handler at the Tate, worked alongside the composer David Murphy to realise her idea. Together, they listened repeatedly to a digitally slowed recording of a thunderclap to determine how best to recreate its sound using instruments, before Murphy transcribed it.
The score, conducted by the BBC Philharmonic's Jason Lai, creates a full sound using cello, violin, viola, trombone, trumpet, flute and piccolo, which lasts about seven minutes before being speeded up to produce the synthesised thunderclap. "There will be gaps between thunderclaps; it's like several storms building up and dying away, with peaks and troughs of activity," says Rickards. There will be a live performance of the longer version in a back room of the church on the opening night.
The installation was commissioned by Media Art Bath, which is producing a record with natural and synthesised versions of the thunderclap. Rickard's previous works have included reproducing birdsong and installing sound works in ice-cream vans. She has exhibited in the UK and Europe and was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2003.
For the composer, transcribing the slowed-down thunderclap for instruments was an arduous task that took three months. "The drone is passed through all the instruments at different times, which creates a continuous sound," says Murphy. The music starts off with heavy rainfall and, once the thunderclap is introduced, it gets pretty wild and chaotic."
12 August to 11 September (01225 396479)Reuse content