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Hearing Leipzig in Symphony Hall


Our BMInt colleague David Griesinger has agreed to preview a short lecture on the acoustics of Boston Symphony Hall that he will deliver during a free public symposium at the Boston Public Library Tuesday February 7th from 6 to 7 pm, part of a celebration of the collaboration between the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig.

He will illustrate the features in the Boston Symphony Hall that may be responsible for its fine acoustics, and compare it with its famous predecessors in Leipzig, the Altes Gewandhaus, where Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and many others composed or performed, and the Neue Gewandhaus, which in 1885 replaced the earlier hall.

Griesinger explains how architectural features influence reverberation, and he posits that loudness, bass, and “proximity” are the desirable qualities. Everyone likes all three perceptions, but young listeners tend to prefer loudness over proximity, while older listeners tend to prefer proximity over loudness. Proximity is an under-recognized perception. It is the auditory sense of being close to the source of the sound. When sounds from an orchestra have proximity you can localize each section and hear each line even in a complex scene. Please click Hearing Boston and Leipzig for the entire illustrated paper, and be sure to follow the links to hear what Griesinger’s recordings depict.  Click HERE for more on the BSO/Leipzig Week.

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