I went to hear the Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Concertgebouw last Friday night. There is no experience like it--the hall is remarkably intimate, and the sound washes over listeners without being blurry. Bass notes in particular both rumble and have great pitch definition. Not even Symphony Hall in Boston, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, or Disney Hall here in LA (all of which are terrific venues) compare. One of the reasons the orchestra has a consistent and unique sound (beyond, of course, the magnificent players) is its building--real estate creates sound character.
Yet buildings need to be renovated from time to time, otherwise they just wear out. Yet any change to the Concertgebouw--the upholstery, the wood on the stage, maybe even the paint--has the potential to change those special acoustics. What does one do to preserve such a place?
p.s., a young woman name Susanna Malkki took over from an ill Jansons. She was really, really good. Perhaps I saw an early performance from a future superstar?