To commemorate the 150th Birthday of famed Danish composer Carl Nielsen, Denmark-based Dacapo Records is releasing The Nielsen Project, a collection of Nielsen’s symphonies and concertos as performed by the New York Philharmonic.
During production, TimbreMusic Tonemeister Mikkel Nymand, recording engineer on the project, utilized DPA Microphones d:dicate 4015S wide cardioid and 4006A omnidirectional mics to accommodate the unique audio requirements at Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center and to achieve a natural quality of the live ensemble.
Fisher Hall has a history of presenting audio challenges for symphonic music, namely diffusions that fall short of producing a rich natural sound and an imperfect early reflection pattern. To account for this, Nymand tested the acoustics of the venue during pre-production to locate optimum mic positions.
A long-time DPA user, he also chose a combination of d:dicate 4015A and 4006A mics to help alleviate these issues and attain natural sonic signature.
“DPA mics have clarity, dynamics and the ability to re-produce original transparent sound, which are all qualities for which DPA stands,” shares Nymand, who is also a product manager for the Danish manufacturer. “I was forced to listen to different types of microphones during my education as an audio engineer, but I always come back to DPA Microphones.
“The natural element is most important to me,” he continues. “Once you have listened to the dynamics of a real orchestra, you can tell right away when the sound is not naturally produced. You know that pristine sound character is different for each instrument, so every time I want to be as close to the original sound source as possible, I return to the d:dicate 4006A Omnidirectional Microphone.”
To achieve a live surround sound reproduction with clarity, Nymand deployed a DPA S5 surround mount, which provides flexibility for distance placement and angling options for the mics while remaining hardly visible in a concert hall setting. It allowed Nymand to surround mount three d:dicate 4006A microphones from the ceiling above the orchestra.
Additionally, to capture the ambient sound, he positioned two wide cardioid d:dicate 4015A mics toward the audience. More microphones were spaced out on the stage to produce an optimal audio balance.
The setup was used to record in DXD (Digital eXtreme Destination), a resolution format that can be reproduced on a CD to meet high technical standards. With four separate albums planned for the collection, Nymand captured a series of rehearsals and live performances over the course of three years. The recordings are then sent to TimbreMusic’s studio in Copenhagen, where music producer Preben Iwan edits the takes.
“It’s a tricky hall to produce in, but we ended up with a sound we’re very proud of,” says Nymand. “The reviews have been very positive and a lot of people have said that it’s the best recording ever done at Fisher Hall.”
With musical direction by Alan Gilbert, the Nielsen Project is a multi-season survey of six symphonies and three concertos written by the beloved composer. With the CD of performances of Symphony No. 2 and No. 3 already released, it was heralded by The New York Times as “one of the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012”. The flute and violin concertos were released in 2013. This past March saw an addition to the collection with the Helios Overture and Symphony No. 1 and No. 4. Upon its completion in 2015, The Nielsen Project will comprise four recordings, released by Dacapo and distributed by Naxos.