The acoustic adjusting process during the rehearsals appeared extremely interesting. After starting from the full orchestra setting of excess reverberation and rather late primary reflections the resulting conditions provided a shorter reverberation time, which gave a pleasantly more intimate feeling. The quicker reflections from the lowered canopy provided the musicians with an ideal feeling of control, both of dynamics and attack, giving especially the double bass an excellent opportunity to support and shape the overtone ring of the ensembles. This was achieved by emphasizing the bow attacks closer to or further from the bridge and lightening the ends of some bow strokes depending on the ensemble texture and the density of the chords. That is highly intuitive manipulation of sound producing. Reportedly the ensemble sound to the parterre became also pleasantly blending, precise and lively.
The overall impression was like, instead of playing in a big symphony hall, performing in a suitably intimate sounding chamber music venue and for example proportioning the dynamics felt self-evident.
The second concert of my series was obviously born under much luckier stars than the first one. I had tentatively planned to use the Sibelius Hall in Lahti, but the realization of the plan got some additional help form several directions. By chance, we were able to use some unneeded reservation time originally allocated to the Lahti Symphony Orhestra, which, combined to the orchestra's overall schedule, made the concert time rather easy to set. In addition there was generously rehearsal time available. The acoustic conditions were naturally familiar to me as well as to the consulting acoustician Henrik Möller, who now had the rare opportunity of fully exploiting the adjustable acoustics of the hall.
Because the program was based on Beethoven's Septet, it also provided the players needed for the two different quintets. Septet, being a large mixed ensemble, is rather orchestral by its nature, although not quite capable of filling a large symphony hall however good the acoustics are. Therefore, in order to achieve the main task of my project, we needed to make sure we would really be allowed to use all the features of the adjustable acoustics in the hall. In fact, we were practically given free hand, with the generous help of the Sibelius Hall staff.
Comparing my personal impression during the concert with the recording, as well as with The Second Opinion given by Jukka Isopuro and the audience's feedback, the ring of the ensembles obviously turned out as we had intended. We were also rather content with the seating orders of the ensembles for which we took into consideration the comments made by my doctoral jury after the first concert.