Last night I went to a concert in the Lodz Music University’s new concert hall. From a distance it looks impressive. Closer up, it becomes more utilitarian. The concert hall itself is fine to look at, comfortable and contemporary. A great space for a music school. But, what was that noise I wondered as I sat waiting for the chamber musicians to arrive on stage. A steady thudding seemed to indicate that the premises was shared by a discotheque. I felt certain that it would stop once the concert began. But this raises a question. When does a concert begin, when the musicians appear or when the audience takes its place? Surely, a vital aspect of concert going is the expectant anticipation. The concert begins before the music begins, rather like a journey which takes you to a longed for destination.
Needless to say, the thudding did not cease when the musicians appeared, nor when they began to play. Afterwards, the concert organiser was half heartedly apologetic when I remonstrated with her. The concert hall shares a wall with the percussion department.
What idiot designed this, an unsound-proofed concert hall? Worse still, what irresponsible authority signed off the building and condoned this incompetence? Poles are congratulating themselves on the success of the new Stettin concert hall, but there are far too many new public spaces financed by EU or government sources which fall far short of fitness for purpose, the Suzew Dom Kultury in Warsaw for one. Perhaps it is as well that Warsaw is still waiting for a new symphony hall. It would be money ill spent, no doubt.