Montreal Symphony works to fine tune new concert hall

Posted on: September 15, 2011

In Thursday’s (9/15) Gazette (Montreal), Arthur Kaptainis writes, “Acoustics might not be a game of inches, but metres make a difference. The reflectors over the stage of the new hall, raised high for the opening, were significantly lower on Tuesday night for the first regular OSM subscription concert of 2011-2012. Curtains in the rear corners were also drawn, presumably in the interests of dampening reverberation. All of which was interesting, as the main offering was Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony, one of the biggest, noisiest and wackiest scores in circulation. If any purely orchestral work requires breathing room, this extravaganza for more than 100 players is it. … While there were traces of fortissimo congestion here and there in the 75-minute performance, the overall image was appreciably more lucid. Piano flourishes (luxury casting: Angela Hewitt, playing a Fazioli) stood apart from the mass in satisfactory relief while the seductive wobbles of the Ondes Martenot (as summoned up by Jean Laurendeau, a noted master of this electronic keyboard instrument) were smoothly integrated into the texture. Thwacks on the bass drum had a nice ring. And however exuberant and exotic the sonic blasts, the spirit of forward momentum—the pulse—did not lapse. This was, of course, a credit to [Music Director Kent] Nagano and the orchestra as well as the acoustical surroundings.”

Posted September 15, 2011