Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 21, 2019  |  1 comments
To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the recent Women's March, we turn the spotlight on Symphonies Nos.1 & 4 of Florence Beatrice Price (1887–1953), the first African American woman to have her music performed by a major American orchestra. In doing so, I extend a big thank you to Naxos, whose invaluable American Classics series continues to record works by American composers both famous and relatively unknown.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 16, 2019  |  4 comments
That's the question raised by Antheil: Orchestral Works (Chandos 10982), the latest anthology of symphonic music by composer/pianist George Antheil (1900–1959). This second Antheil title from John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra finds Storgårds exploring music written on both sides of Antheil's successful Symphony No.4, which can be found on Vol.1 of what looks to be an ongoing Antheil series.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 06, 2019  |  3 comments
From last week's contemporary realities, as viewed through the lens of David Chesky, we move back in time to 1707–1710, when the emotionally overwrought women, mythological subjects, shepherds, shepherdesses, and nymphs of Handel Italian Cantatas were in vogue. If those subjects strike your fancy, and/or you love baroque artistry and great singing, this new Erato recording from Emmanuelle Haïm's Le Concert d'Astrée, French lyric coloratura soprano Sabine Devielhe, and Franco-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre belongs on your must-hear list.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 31, 2018  |  3 comments
Many of us enter the New Year with a mixture of sorrow for our losses and hope for what lies ahead. While there's no right way to celebrate 2019's symbolic new start, one approach to creating space for the new is to pause long enough to acknowledge our lives and environment for exactly what they are at the present moment.

Cue David Chesky's Rap Symphony 2.0, a reworking of Chesky's original release currently available in download and video form.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 22, 2018  |  12 comments
Although I'm far more of a "Happy Holidays" audiophile than anything else, the prospect of a high-resolution Christmas-themed recording from Masaaki Suzuki and his superb Bach Collegium Japan led me to their new hybrid SACD issue from BIS, Verbum caro factum est: A Christmas Greeting (BIS-2291). Auditioned as a 24/96 stereo download—downloading or streaming are the only ways to access the recording immediately, and in format choices that include surround—Masaaki Suzuki's recording managed to bring smiles, warmth, and good cheer to this admittedly down-on-religion Grinch.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 15, 2018  |  11 comments
Terpsichore, the Greek goddess of dance and chorus. How appropriate that her delight in dancing should be honored in Terpsichore: Apotheóse de la Danse baroque (Alia Vox), the latest beautifully produced and packaged Alia Vox SACD from Jordi Savall and his baroque orchestra, Le Concert des Nations. Filled with high energy orchestral music by Jean-Ferry Rebel (1666–1747) and the even longer-lived Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767), the recording exalts the exuberant French style of instrumental dance music that became popular during the rise of the baroque orchestra in the courts of Kings Henry IV and Louis XIII in the early 17th century.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 09, 2018  |  8 comments
First came the press release, from San Francisco Symphony, announcing:

• Esa-Pekka Salonen is the Music Director Designate of SFS, to replace Michael Tilson Thomas when he voluntarily steps down after the summer of 2020.

• EPS will lead SFS in a program on January 18–20 that includes the SFS premiere of Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Metacosmos, Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, and Sibelius's Four Legends from the Kalevala.

These led me to explore Thorvaldsdottir's music in two recent hi-rez releases from Sono Luminus: Aequa: International Contemporary Ensemble Performs Anna Thorvaldsdottir (DSL-92224), and Nordic Affect: H e (a) r (DSL-92227).

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 02, 2018  |  9 comments
There I was, driving through the streets of Port Townsend, dodging the dashing deer, when out of the blue, strains of Palestrina came floating by. Giving thanks to CBC Radio, which we can receive in the Pacific Northwest, I noticed immediately how my internal space had become far more peaceful after just a few bars of Palestrina's polyphonic writing for multiple voices. It was at that minute that I realized that I missed listening to sacred vocal music of the Renaissance, and that it was high time that more of it made its way on to the Stereophile.com.

French composer Antoine de Févin (ca 1470–1511/12) was, according to conductor Stephen Rice, one of the most accomplished and widely circulated creators of sacred music in France and Europe around 1500. With very few entire recordings devoted to Févin's music, there is no better way to make his acquaintance than the latest offering from Rice and The Brabant Ensemble, Antoine de Févin: Missa Ave Maria & Salve sancta parens (Hyperion CDA68265).

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 26, 2018  |  17 comments
The utter devastation and hopelessness conveyed by Teodor Currentzis' recent Sony Classics recording of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.6, "Pathétique," was so shattering that I could not wait to hear what he and his MusicAererna orchestra of Perm, Russia would do with Mahler's Symphony No.6 in a, "Tragic." In fact, I was so eager to experience Currentzis' first recording of Mahler's music that I listened to the 24/96 download even before the physical CD becomes available on December 7.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 20, 2018  |  8 comments
How to encompass the myriad delights in Mozart's multiple Sonatas for Violin and Fortepiano? Judging from the three chosen by baroque violinist Isabelle Faust and period instrument/modern music keyboard specialist Alexander Melnikov for their November 23 release, Mozart Sonatas for Violin and Fortepiano, Vol.1 (Harmonia Mundi 902360), we will be fortunate enough to struggle with that question for some time to come.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 16, 2018  |  17 comments
Silent Voices (New Amsterdam Records) comes from the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The recording, from young forces who have performed with everyone from the New Philharmonic and Mariinsky Orchestra to Barbara Streisand and Elton John, showcases works composed for their ongoing multimedia, multi-composer concert series, Silent Voices. Some of these works, which have already been heard at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, National Sawdust, and other prestigious venues, are sure to find their way into the songbooks of many a professional and student organization.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 09, 2018  |  3 comments
This review and its companion that will follow next week spotlight two very different and equally recommendable recordings of contemporary music with a common theme: the quest for freedom and justice in perilous times. This week's special, Lament/Witches' Sabbath (New Focus Recordings), due out today (November 9), contains four works by Mathew Rosenblum, an East Coast composer who occasionally ventures into forbidden territory as he blends percussion, acoustic instruments, electronics, voice and microtonal elements in extremely visceral, moving, and sometimes gut-wrenching ways.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 29, 2018  |  8 comments
The still youthful Danish String Quartet, whose 2016 release on ECM New Series inspired this glowing review in Stereophile, has returned with another hi-rez recording, Prism I (ECM New Series 2561), the first in a projected series of recordings for ECM New Series that will place one of Beethoven's late string quartets in the context of a related fugue by J.S. Bach and another linked quartet.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 22, 2018  |  3 comments
I had all but resolved to move on from reviewing recordings honoring the 2018 centenaries of Claude Debussy's death and Leonard Bernstein's birth when word arrived of Warner Classic's 10-CD bargain box, Debussy: Ses Premiers Interprètes / His First Performers. This set's contents are so important that I want to give Debussy lovers a heads-up so that they can either make room for it in their holiday self-gift basket, give friends ample notice for what they'd like to be playing when 2019 rolls around, or start streaming immediately.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 15, 2018  |  5 comments
Forty years after he wrote his two-movement Tabula Rasa for violinist Gidon Kremer, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, 83, is still alive, engaged and composing. Hence it should come as no surprise that when violinist Viktoria Mullova and conductor Paavo Järvi contacted Pärt about their plan to record five of his works for violin and various instruments for their Onyx album, Arvo Pärt, the conductor attended the recording sessions.

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