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Composed by Jonny Greenwood

268 years of reverb

Performed by James McVinnie & Eliza McCarthy

Saturday 18 May, 2.00pm

Octagon Chapel

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Tickets: £7.50 - £50.00

The World Premiere of 268 years of reverb, a new 8-hour durational work written by Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead, The Smile) performed live on the Octagon Chapel’s pipe organ.


268 years of reverb was written to summon all the music, voices and sounds that have ever filled the air and soaked into the walls of a room: to shake or coax them out of the fabric of the building, so they can be heard again – distilled and concentrated into eight hours. Performed from daylight through sunset by James McVinnie and Eliza McCarthy, this eight hour organ experience can be enjoyed for the full length of the performance, or for 1 hour and 50 minute time slots.

The organ is the lungs and voice of any building where it is installed. In an old church, air is going through the same organ pipes, in the same space, that other listeners have experienced for centuries. So, hearing church organs is a kind of time travel, the closest we have to faithfully reproducing ancient sound. In the Octagon Chapel, it’s 268 years of time: season after season spent celebrating, commiserating, praising, mourning, to the same recorded sounds. This time is measured over generations, though the rituals of the church, and is a reminder that churches are the repository for the books of parish records as well as Bibles. 

In writing this, I was influenced by the classical Indian approach to melodies, where new notes are introduced very gradually into improvised solos – the arrival of each note is so long-awaited, that its arrival is a revelation of a new world. Knowing this introduces huge tension into the experience of listening to that music. Also, within the drone of the tanpura are the swirling overtones and harmonics that compound the complexity and beauty of the textures. It’s meditative, but not just meditative, because of this tension. Melodies in Indian music are often thought of as circular, rather than linear – you’re climbing on to a moving wheel, not starting and ending in silence.  This is why the first and last chords of X years of reverb incorporate notes below/above audible frequencies. In this way, the music passes across the room as it passes across the audible spectrum, in the same way a rainbow is only the narrow range of the visible spectrum amongst all possible frequencies of light.” –  Jonny Greenwood

Important information

Venue: Octagon Chapel

Duration: 8 hours (tickets for 1 hour 50 minute time slots available)

Access: Some of the seating at the Octagon Chapel is up a flight of stairs, if you require a seat on the ground floor please let us know by emailing

If you require a wheelchair accessible space, please chose this area when booking.
For more information on booking wheelchair accessible spaces click here.

The full show length is 8 hours, audiences booking the 8 hour ticket are able to come and go as they please.

268 years of reverb - Additional Information


This is the World Premiere of a continuous eight hour organ piece composed by Jonny Greenwood and performed on the Octagon Chapel’s organ by James McVinnie and Eliza McCarthy. The performers will take turns, allowing each of them to have a breaks within the eight hours.


Part of the venue is up a flight of stairs, please contact us on 01603 531800 or if you have any access requirements.
There is level entry to the Octagon Chapel from the back of the building, the main entrance is up stone steps.


There are toilets in the Martineau Hall next to the Octagon Chapel.
Seating is on wooden pews, some have cushions but not all, bring your own for extra comfort.

Food & Drink

No food or drink apart from bottled water will be allowed in the Octagon Chapel.
There will be light refreshments available in the Martineau Hall next to the Octagon Chapel.


Full 8 hour tickets – you will have access to the full performance, and may come and go throughout the 8 hours.
1 hour 50 minute tickets – please arrive 10 minutes before your timeslot for a short introduction before taking your seats. A steward will indicate when the time slot is ending and you should leave the space.


Tickets: £50 Full 8 hours, £20 1 hour 50 minute time slot.

On the day: £60 Full 8 hours, £25 1 hour 50 minute time slot. Book early to get the best price, prices go up on the morning of the event.

Concessions: 10% off tickets priced £10 or over for D/deaf or disabled, Full-time students, Go 4Less cardholders and Jobseekers

Under 18: £7.50 Only available for the 1 hour 50 minute time slots.

YoungNNF: £7.50 tickets for ages 18-25 with our FREE YoungNNF membership. Only available for the 1 hour 50 minute time slots.

Essential Companions: Any audience member requiring an essential carer/companion can get one free ticket. Relevant discounts or concessions still apply to the paid ticket.

Select a performance


18 May

02:00 pm

£45.00 - £50.00


18 May

02:00 pm

£7.50 - £20.00


18 May

04:00 pm

£7.50 - £20.00


18 May

06:00 pm

£7.50 - £20.00


18 May

08:00 pm

£7.50 - £20.00

Masthead image: Shin Katan

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