Friday, June 22, 2012

A Dazzling Space

The Eugene McDermott Concert Hall at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.


  1. Stunning interior! I've never been there, however. I'm curious: In what way(s) is the sound of the hall superior to that of the Musikvereinsaal?

  2. The Dallas hall has greater clarity than the hall in Vienna, and yet the sound still retains warmth and presence.

    In Vienna, low frequencies are emphasized, and high frequencies are minimized. This is one of the factors that gives the hall its famous glow.

    In Dallas, low frequencies are clear, mid-range frequencies are clear, and high frequencies are clear. The same is true of the hall in Minneapolis, but the sound in Minneapolis—quite excellent—is dry compared to the sound in Dallas.

    If you recall, one of the pieces I heard in Dallas was Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces, portions of which involve a chorus singing a cappella. Sound in the a cappella passages filled the hall, even when the chorus was singing pianissimo.

    I had expected the a cappella passages to get lost in the hall, body and presence disappearing (the number of singers was not large). In fact, the a cappella passages were as clear and had the same carrying power and richness as the passages with both chorus and orchestra.

    I was dumbfounded at the time. (Of course, because of the perfection of the hall’s sound, one could also hear all sorts of microtones, as the chorus—not particularly good—saw its pitch trend downward whenever orchestral support was removed.)

  3. Thank you. I don't think that underappreciated qualities of greatness can be overstated.

  4. What is your opinion of the acoustics of Jones Hall in Houston?

    The one time I was there, I thought the sound was swampy.