Bavarian PM promises next maestro a new concert hall

Munich had promised Mariss Jansons a new hall. Now all cultural building projects are being cut back just as Mariss’s orchestra prepares to name his successor.

Simon Rattle was in town this week, complaining about the present hall.

The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder went on television last night to reaffirm his government’s commitment to a new hall. He said: Art and culture are an integral part of society. The new concert hall is therefore not negotiable.’


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  • If they’re going to build a new hall, there should be one and only one design possible: a replica of the Musikverein. That design works. Symphony Hall in Boston is basically a replica of the Musikverein, and that’s why those two plus the Concertgebouw are generally considered the three best halls acoustically in the world.

    If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

    • The good old Shoe-box model! And don’t forget the Laeiszhalle Hamburg and the Tonhalle Zurich, wonderful “shoe-boxes” with superb natural acoustics, as opposed to all that fancy artificial hyper-sonic japanese crap that only cost the taxpayer € € € gazillions!

      • sometimes it does, somewhat, but more often it does not. Except it‘s great for filming conductors from all angles with long lenses with nice bokeh (blur) behind him (or her) focusing nicely on the most important aspect of any concert: how does the conductor look like.
        Can‘t hear the singers in the back? Small price to pay for great views into the conductor‘s most inspired face!

      • The designers of Symphony Hall in Boston looked at both Leipzig and Vienna halls. As far as I’m concerned they created a superb result. Nobody has mentioned Dallas/Birmingham. Very very good modern halls

        • Nice hall in Madison, Wisconsin, too “Overture Hall” that seats 2,251. Designed by Caesar Pelli. Overture Center also has smaller halls.

        • Haven’t heard Birmingham in person but I can vouch for Dallas. I’ve heard many many concerts in both Dallas and Boston. Both are great halls, but Dallas is better!

    • Symphony Hall Boston is also a direct model of the old Leipzig Gewandhaus. Henry Lee Higginson, the founder and impresario of the BSO was in Leipzig and was an admired the hall’s acoustics.

    • Actually, Boston’s Symphony Hall was modeled after the second Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig, which was later destroyed in World War II. You are correct in saying that the shoebox design used in Boston was previously used in the Musikverein in Vienna. Conductor Herbert von Karajan, in comparing it to the Musikverein, stated that “for much music, it is even better… because of its slightly lower reverberation time.”

    • And the good old Town Hall in Birmingham and Caird Hall in Dundee.

      Not to forget Victoria Hall in Geneva – though a little narrow.

      I would think these old halls are still better than Elphi. But why? Perception bias?

      [Great Richard Strauss cycle with Neeme Järvi was partly recorded in Caird Hall]

  • If it really goes ahead (and let’s not forget that Bavarian politicians are not exactly known for their adherence to the truth – AND the fact that Söder might be the new German Chancellor by then and his successor might have different ideas), it is imperative that they redesign that appalling glass coffin. An eyesore. But given the fact that there is neither a budget, nor an agreed acoustic plan, there is still a chance to get it right.

    • what worries more is the fact they mention Rattle as a possible successor, one of the most overrated conductors around – he has a job to fulfill so choose a younger one – this world needs to wake up and let the new generation finally take over! In politics and in performing art

      • Sir Simon Rattle is a great Maestro and first choice for BR Munich… Sir Rattle has done a great job with the Berliner Philharmoniker… He’s a brilliant and very intelligent Maestro – and most importantly a fantastic musician!

  • While the Musikverein, Concertgebouw and Boston are great halls acoustically, nobody today wants to go to a concert where they see just half of the stage,as is the case for man seats in those venerable halls. The visual experience is also very important.

      • Seats behind can never give a good balance of the orchestra and soloists. If that is less important than being able to see the conductor frontally is not really debatable. Why should anyone, except fellow conductors and students of the trade, want to give the frontal sight of the conductor a higher priority than a decent balance of the music? That sounds just silly to me.

    • Personally the visual component that I value is the aesthetics of the ambience, not the sightline to the stage. But a great acoustics and great music making are infinitely more important.

  • Good luck with that new hall. I think the present one dates only to the mid 1980’s and there’s a worldwide economic and health crisis going on.

  • Once again most readers forget the two most impressive new concert halls in Europe – the NOSPR Hall in Katowice and the NFM hall in Wroclaw (which is more easily pronounced by the German nomenclature of Breslau).
    Both happen to be in Poland.
    Interestingly the acoustical engineering for the NFM hall was done by Arup wunderkind Tateo Nakajima who not only happens to be one of the world’s leading acoustic specialists but also a highly respected orchestral and opera conductor.
    It augurs very well that Nakajima is contracted to supervise the sound in the new Munich hall. Smart choice.

  • If it’s just about pure gorgeous sound, and you don’t mind the painful seating and incredibly limited balcony views, then as far as great acoustic halls go, I’d put in a plug for Bayreuth! Damn good music making there, though! (I know, I know… Just being a little facetious)

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