Helsingin keskeisten 1800-luvun konserttitilojen huoneakustiikan mallintaminen
Helsinki became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812, three years after the war between Sweden and Russia. After the former capital Turku burnt disastrously in 1827, the University moved to Helsinki. After that, Helsinki soon developed into the Finnish center of music. In the end of the 19th century, there were three theatres and at least four large halls meant for the performance of orchestral music.
The most important concert halls and other music performance spaces of 19th century Helsinki have either vanished, or have been converted into other use. Such spaces are the first and second banquet halls of the Hotel Societetshuset (architect C. L. Engel 1833 and A. H. Dahlström 1863), the much altered main auditorium of the University of Helsinki (Engel 1832) and the banquet hall of the Voluntary Fire Brigade House (Theodor Höijer 1889). The most important venues for the performance of orchestral music were the first and second banquet halls of the Hotel Societetshuset, the much altered main auditorium of the University of Helsinki and the banquet hall of the Voluntary Fire Brigade House. Symphony concerts were performed mostly in the main auditorium of the university. In other venues, the concerts usually included a popular program which consisted of orchestral music like overtures and suites with the exception of symphonies. For example, the first symphony by Jean Sibelius had its premiere in the main auditorium of the university in 1899. The second version of the work was performed the following year in the Fire Brigade House. As the main auditorium of the University has been enlarged and altered after being damaged in the air raids of 1944 and the Fire Brigade House was changed to Parliament Chamber in 1907, the music of Sibelius or other 19th century Finnish composers cannot be heard in the acoustics where they were first performed. The banquet halls of the Hotel Societetshuset have also been altered or converted to other use.
The aim of this study was to produce information on the acoustics of the vanished concert halls by means of room acoustical computer modelling. The project was multidisciplinary as the geometrical models of the halls were formed using information on their architectural history. The sources used for the geometric modelling were old construction plans, photographs and seating charts. The room acoustical modelling was carried out with commercial software.
All of the studied concert spaces were small compared with those built during the same century in Central Europe. Regarding the number of seats, the Finnish concert halls of the 19th century would probably be classified as chamber music halls. However, the results of room acoustical computer modelling show that their acoustics differed from chamber music halls and corresponded to larger halls. Even though there were noticeable differences between the studied halls, the results also mean that the studied halls have been reverberant enough and suitable for the performance of symphonic music. On the other hand, the value of strength was large compared to larger halls of Central Europe. This means that performances might have been excessively loud when the size of the orchestras in Helsinki started to grow during the last decades of the 19th century. Another common feature in all halls is the large difference between the concert and rehearsal situation; the latter being much more reverberant.