By the Musical Way #3


During the 1970s and 80s, music was especially vibrant at University College, Cardiff. Unlike others, Cardiff encouraged practical music-making, composition and performance, and built a concert hall to boot. I was fortunate to be working there as a lecturer during this heyday, and was pleased to receive a visit from the late Peter Tranchell, fellow of Caius College and a lecturer in music here in Cambridge. He had been my supervisor, so I knew him well. He visited Cardiff to inspect the new concert hall because the Music Faculty in Cambridge was proposing to build one for itself.

He did a good job. He noted the strengths at Cardiff, such as a permanent sound-proofed recording studio alongside the main auditorium, and some weaknesses, such as a level rather than a raked floor. The benefits of the West Road Concert Hall cannot be numbered. Prior to its opening, concerts were given in unsatisfactory locations such as college chapels, the Guildhall, sport centres and the like. West Road holds enough people to create a sense of occasion yet is intimate enough to encourage expressive playing and attentive listening: a wonderful venue for the thriving musical life in the city.


Answer to question posed in By the Musical Way #2: Josef Myslivecek contracted syphilis, lost his nose as a result, and died naked in a shed.

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