Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An acoustical nightmare

The Georgian Chamber Players presented a concert titled “Aus Wien” on January 28, 2012 at the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.  The program included:
Schubert:  Quartettsatz in C Minor, D. 7-3
Beethoven:  Grosse Fuge in B-Flat Major, Op. 133
Brahms: Quintet in F Minor for Piano and String Quarter, Op. 34
The Brahms piece featured Julie Coucheron on the piano.

This concert was a miss, not even a near miss.  The acoustics in the Trinity auditorium are flat, causing the sound to be thin and lacking in bass.  This is echo but little reverberation.  This concert was a study in how bad acoustics can torpedo a performance. 

The Beethoven was performed disappointingly.  There were moments with major intonation problems and poor violin bowing, leading to an occasional screech.  This was a disappointment given that this group includes the Principals of the violin, cello, and viola sections of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. As much as Christopher Rex is a great cellist, his tone always seems mild and is often lost in overall soundscape.

Last year I heard David and Julie Coucheron play at Spivey Hall.  They were magnificent, and Spivey’s acoustics do a great job of supporting a great performance.  Unfortunately, this time the Brahms quintet was a less than ideal.  It’s not that the playing was bad, but the sound was blurred and harsh.  This is certainly not the players fault, but nevertheless the performance suffered as a result. 

Alas, not every concert can be great and failures can be the result of many things.  As much as anything, the poor acoustics of the venue let down the Georgian Chamber Players.

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