The Unbearable Banishment: here's a fun new york story

Friday, February 6, 2009

here's a fun new york story

A post for Daisy Fae, who enjoys New York stories.

In 1986, a renovation project was completed on Carnegie Hall. The acoustics of Carnegie Hall were something that musicologists and the city always took great pride in. But, post-renovation, music purists insisted that the sound had somehow been compromised, particularly in the lower registers. There was a growing theory that a thin layer of concrete that hadn't been there before was installed under the stage floor. Officials involved with the renovation adamantly denied the existence of the concrete. They said the story was pure fiction and they dismissed the critics as conspiracy theorist crackpots.

Well, as usual, the crackpots were right. In 1996, Hall administrators announced that there WAS INDEED a heretofore unknown layer of concrete below the stage and it was removed. The reviews were unanimous. The Hall’s warm acoustics were returned to their original form.

Can you imagine!? I was amazed by that. At the end of a concert, someone turned to their date and said, “I enjoyed the adagio, but it sounds like they’ve mistakenly installed a thin layer of concrete under the stage.” I’ll never be that perceptive about anything.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

a concert in Carnegie Hall is on my 'must do' list... i wonder if it was leaked from the rehab crews? how could you tell something that subtle? Maybe the musicians...

February 6, 2009 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

daisy: Actually, you hit the nail right on the head. The complaints started with the conductors and musicians and it snowballed from there.

February 6, 2009 at 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheers to the person who has such an acute ear that they knew what the issue was.

Jeers to the deceitful officials for dismissing the claims.

February 6, 2009 at 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

linda sala

February 6, 2009 at 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I'm not a musician, I am somewhat perceptive and can tell when something is "not quite right". Doubt I'd have been able to pinpoint the source (without investigating) though.

Ah, to be labelled a "crackpot" again. And again. And again.

Nice short story T.U.B.

February 6, 2009 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger ~E said...

It's not that you're not as perceptive about those things. It's probably because you have better things to worry about than concrete.

February 7, 2009 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

No doubt. I think I have a pretty good ear for music - but nowhere near that good!

February 9, 2009 at 8:40 PM  

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