The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Perfect pitch for every key & chord
- Elaborate acoustic arrangements at open-air venue for master pianist

The countless fans of Richard Clayderman in the city have soaked up his romantic tunes on disc and tape, not to mention in elevators, supermarkets, aircraft and while being put on hold during phone calls.

Now, the Prince of Romance, whose hands are insured for a cool £ 1 million, is all set to charm Calcutta in flesh and blood and piano keys, at the sold-out Monday evening show at Swabhumi, presented by the RPG Group.

The Yamaha piano, cleaned and polished and perfectly tuned, with an adjustable back seat, has been readied for the master by the Saregama sound team working round the clock to make the show a success. “We are trying our best to produce an undistorted replica of the live sound through elaborate acoustic treatment procedures at the open-air venue,” says J.K. Maitra, chief technical manager, Saregama, responsible for the sound engineering of the concert, also featuring Rahul Sharma on the santoor.

More than 2,000 metres of pleated hessian cloth is being used to erect an artificial 15-ft wall around the stage to increase sonic absorption, while the glass panels on the corridors of the urban court are being masked with glass wool. “Our main concern is to control the reverberation time by minimising reflection, so that all the three frequency ranges — high, middle and bass — are crystal-clear,” explains Maitra, who is also doing the sound engineering for the duo’s New Delhi concert, on Wednesday, at the Siri Fort auditorium.

According to the technical rider mailed to the organisers by his manager Oliver Toussaint, Clayderman will sometimes perform piano solo, sometimes piano with tapes and the performance with Rahul Sharma will be with playback tapes. Going by the same rider, front-of-the-house speakers will be equivalents of sub bass Meyer 650 R2 and Meyer UPA in omni-directional twin-tower format, while the monitor wedges on either side of Clayderman’s piano stool will be the equivalent of UM 1 Meyer.

From the main mix console to the monitor mix board, peripherals to microphones, stage lighting to noise gates — every technical detail has been specified in the must-ensure list. “We are doing our best to replicate the conditions to the best of our ability,” says Gautam Jain of Real Reel Pvt Ltd, event manager. Jain, along with Biswajit Prasad — in charge of executing the sound — is helping the Saregama team stitch the show together.

Sudha Dalmiya, designing the stage backdrop, is using back-lighting and yellow lilies woven with thread to create a “subtle and soothing feel” . Usha Uthup will be the emcee, introducing the audience to the master pianist. The Science City auditorium is being kept on standby mode, should the weather god play spoilsport.

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