Podcast: The Detail

Wiring up an orchestra for radio

The Detail today takes you behind the scenes as RNZ's sound engineers wire up the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for a Town Hall performance of Bolero.  

Every day The Detail is pieced together by RNZ’s sound engineers who take it from a scattering of audio clips into a – hopefully – coherent, informative podcast.

But the engineers do much more than that. Among their jobs is the difficult task of trying to capture live music and broadcast it around the country.

Given it’s a public holiday today, we thought: why not do something a little different?

So, The Detail’s Alex Ashton went down to the Auckland Town Hall with RNZ engineers Adrian Hollay and Blair Stagpoole, as they set up to record the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s performance of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero.

There is a lot more to it than shoving a microphone into the orchestra. It’s a complicated set-up process, made more so by the fact they must work around a practicing orchestra.

But for Adrian, who’s a pianist and a classical music lover, getting to go behind the scenes at concerts like Bolero is a dream job.

He remembers being 10 years old, listening to his grandfather’s Tchaikovsky record on blast when his family went for a hike.

“I cranked it. I listened to it loudly, and it hooked me right in.”

So if you’ve ever wondered what goes in to recording an orchestra – or, how different it is to recording a pop concert, for example – take a listen.

Want more from The Detail? Find past episodes here.

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