What is so simply called the “Liederhalle” in Stuttgart is generally associated with the large concert hall, officially named Beethoven Hall. In reality, however, the Liederhalle Culture and Congress Center is not just one single concert hall, but a large complex that houses a whole range of different rooms.
Today we are not talking about the well-known Beethoven Hall, which has already been mentioned here. No, today we are talking about the unjustly overshadowed Hegel Hall, a bright and modern venue that’s barely smaller than the aforementioned concert hall. At the same time, I would like to take up the cudgels for it today, as it is far too seldom that musicians come to its magnificent stage because it is part of the congress section of the center and is therefore only allowed to be used for music when absolutely nobody wants to meet.
In 1991, the time had come: after the increasing number of events and the new event formats in the existing halls had become cramped and too bulky, the polygonal congress center in the north of the Liederhalle was opened. The Hegel Hall, which we are looking at today, leads the new rooms with almost 2000 seats and is also the only one that is regularly used for larger concerts. Not regularly enough, however, as I have already indicated. Unfortunately, this part of the center is under the management of the congress organization and concerts can only take place at weekends, if at all. And sometimes the SWR Symphony Orchestra is lucky and is allowed to stay for one of its lunch concerts.
The backstage area is spacious, but unfortunately also windowless. At least there are plenty of rooms, lots of space in the checkrooms, a coffee machine and – as is the case with most concert halls – no canteen.
The stage can be reached by elevator or wide flights of stairs. Once you have finally arrived at the stage, which can be adjusted in many ways, you immediately feel at home: the hall, with its irregular heptagonal floor plan, is relatively high but not very long, with two tiers above each other ensuring that even the back rows are never really far away. It feels intimate and friendly, contact with the audience is immediate and you never think you are sitting opposite 2000 people. To prevent the sound from disappearing into the high, tent-like ceiling, several transparent sails ensure sufficient reflection, so that all sounds remain close to us, appearing to have a clear and defined impact. Due to the very diffuse dispersion characteristics of the heptagonal floor plan, there are fortunately never any phantom sound sources on stage. At other venues, it’s not uncommon to be able to hear colleagues playing from all possible directions. Just not where they are sitting. At the same time, the room height provides the necessary degree of connection so that musical lines do not fall apart in the acoustics optimized for speech.
I, for my part, hope that a few rules will change and that we will see many more concerts between these friendly seven walls.
Recordings with a sound typical for this concert hall: SWR broadcasts of the lunch concerts