Chamber Music Returns

In culture, Manifold Recording by Michael Tiemann

In the What’s Up? section of this week’s News and Observer, correspondent Roy C. Dicks wrote a wonderful review-cum-article about a renaissance of chamber music in the Triangle Area. He begins by observing the extent to which chamber music has strayed from its roots:

Nowadays, chamber music concerts are typically performed in large public venues, such as Raleigh’s Fletcher Opera Theater, Duke’s Reynolds Theater and UNC’s Memorial Hall. There, string quartets, piano trios and wind ensembles play to several hundred to a thousand people, with the musicians on a raised stage, separated from the audience.

Let me first say how happy I am that we have such wonderful venues in our midst for the enjoyment of music! Let me also say with equal enthusiasm how blessed we have the privilege to enjoy first-rate talent from both our local music community and those who come to visit on their national and international tours. The Triangle area is rich indeed!

But Mr. Dicks makes an excellent point, which is that chamber music was “intended for more intimate surroundings: a room in a home or a chamber in a palace. Audiences were small and more directly connected to the players in the same space and on the same level.” And it seems that such venues are opening or re-opening in our midst as well. But rather than quote his entire article, I want to consider a different question: what is the best way to record chamber music? A large venue, or one that gives the audience the sense of intimacy of a music salon or a palace chamber?

I am hopeful that the acoustic properties of the Music Room at Manifold Recording is precisely the type of environment that will both flatter the music but also inspire and reward those musicians who prefer to play “on the level”. And I look forward to proving that in an environment that supports the authentic experience, that authenticity can be clearly heard in our recordings. Time will tell!