Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Acoustics of Wealth

The red plush fabric on the railings of the boxes in Carnegie Hall matches the upholstery on the seats, but it looks a little threadbare here and there. We're midway between the orchestra seats below, and the soft white ceiling inset with incandescent bulbs like jewels hanging airily several stories above, as the ensemble down on stage begins to play Beethoven.

I'm surprised: muscular, angular Ludwig, while still maintaining some of his momentum, sounds like he's had his edges sanded off, and the power of the 7th Symphony seems to have dissipated somewhat. I wonder at the acoustics of this room, if the men who built it specifically designed it to smooth out the rough spots so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of the wealthy patrons of the arts who once frequented these now frayed chairs for their weekly doses of art.

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