Rehearsal Hall Paavo
Helsinki Music Centre
The hall was originally designed, as indicated by its name, just as a rehearsal venue, with the floor space and the hydraulic risers identical to those found in the stage of the adjacent Helsinki Music Centre main concert hall. Also all the back and side surfaces of the orchestra stage simulate the main hall conditions in original forms, angles and materials. In front of the stage structure, instead of a space for audience, there is a straight porous wall incorporating acoustically adjustable elements. One can manually adjust the wall from soft to hard - absorptive to reflective - surface. The wall is also set not to be parallel to any surface behind the stage structure. The most absorptive setting is designed to enable rehearsals of a full symphony orchestra on the risers of the stage by preventing too high volume levels.
The space is lofty, simulating the distance between the stage level and the canopy in the main hall, in practice giving the venue enough volume for a decent amount of reverberation (approx. 1 sec.) when the acoustic wall is adjusted to its hardest setting. Therefore, the hall is regularly used as a concert venue for recitals and chamber concerts. Because there are no fixed seats for the audience and we would not be using the risers, I assumed that we could test different positions in the hall to find the best possible acoustic spot for the performance. For chamber music concerts the hall can seat a maximum of 240 persons.
Although the Rehearsal Hall Paavo was not quite ideal venue for the large Mussorgsky ensemble, which would have benefited from a more reverberant hall, I also had to consider the fact that the concert would involve all together 11 musicians, a conductor and two technicians. In addition to the potential acoustic conditions of a hall, I therefore had to take into account the logistics of four double basses and bass stools, six cellos and a harp. There were several players in the ensembles from the resident orchestras of the Music Centre, which also eased scheduling the rehearsals, and the harp and bass stools were always available for us. All three main rehearsals of the Mussorgsky we were able to play in the hall.
Rehearsal Hall Paavo
The frame of the riser structure can be seen underneath the audience