Friday, November 30, 2012
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts is widely considered to be one of the two or three finest concert halls in the world, alongside Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Vienna's Großer Musikvereinssaal. All three concert halls are renowned for their exceptional acoustics.
The architects, McKim, Mead & White of New York, engaged Wallace Clement Sabine, a young assistant professor of physics at Harvard, as their acoustical consultant, and Symphony Hall became one of the first auditoria designed in accordance with scientifically derived acoustical principles. Stage walls slope inward to help focus the sound. With the exception of its wooden floors, the Hall is built of brick, steel, and plaster, with modest decoration. Side balconies are very shallow to avoid trapping or muffling sound, and the coffered ceiling and statue-filled niches along three sides help provide excellent acoustics to essentially every seat.
Symphony Hall was inaugurated on October 15, 1900, with an inaugural gala led by music director Wilhelm Gericke, after the Orchestra's original home (the Old Boston Music Hall) was threatened by road-building and subway construction.
In 2006, due to wear and tear, the concert stage floor was replaced at a cost of $250,000. The process used original methods and materials, including hard maple, a compressed wool underlayment and hardened steel cut nails, hammered home by hand. The vertical grain fir subfloor from 1899 was in excellent shape and was left in place. The nails used in the new floor are made using the same equipment that produced the originals. Even the back chanelling on the original maple top boards was replicated to help preserve the acoustics of the Hall. The old floorboards were converted into handcrafted pens that are available to the public on a necessarily limited basis.
The 16 replicas of Greek and Roman statues are related in some way to music, art, or literature. They were placed in the niches as part of an appreciation of the frequently quoted words, "Boston, the Athens of America," written by Bostonian William Tudor in the early 19th century. The Symphony Hall organ, an Aeolian Skinner designed by G. Donald Harrison and installed in 1949, is considered one of the finest concert hall organs in the world.
The hall's leather seats are still original from 1900.
A couple of interesting points for observant concert-goers: Beethoven is the only composer whose name was inscribed on one of the plaques that trim the stage and balconies; the other plaques were left empty since it was felt that only Beethoven's popularity would remain unchanged. The initials "BMH" for "Boston Music Hall", as the building was originally to have been called, appear on the stairwell banisters at the Huntington Avenue side, originally planned as the main entrance. The old Boston Music Hall was gutted only after the new building, Symphony Hall, was opened.(1)
Jerry performed here on
1/26/72 Howard Wales
1/27/72 Howard Wales
1.)^The History of Symphony Hall, http://www.bso.org/brands/symphony-hall/about-us/historyarchives/the-history-of-symphony-hall.aspx?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CJsBEIwQMAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bso.org%2FHome%2FBranding%3Fbrand%3D6426%26linkForward%3D26645&ei=LEy8T8r2L6qFiALqx4GTDg&usg=AFQjCNFztbctt91JouTh4PlV5izCv9eWuA&sig2=F7WXxBYXP0ZGVJFEUHULsA