Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 26, 2018  |  1 comments
From John McCormack, Kathleen Ferrier, and Dame Janet Baker through today's Bryn Terfel, Alice Coote, and Roderick Williams, some of our greatest English and Irish singers have become indelibly associated with the art of English song. To that exalted list we must now add mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, whose recent recording of 120 years of English song from the Royal College of Music, Come to Me in My Dreams (Chandos 10944), with the superb pianist Joseph Middleton, is so deeply felt and gorgeously voiced that it earns a 5-star recommendation.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 20, 2018  |  12 comments
How many of us, when asked to name great American symphonists, typically start and stop with Copland, Ives, Bernstein, Barber and, among living composers, Glass and Adams? In doing so, we often ignore a host of others from the mid-to-late 20th century, including Schumann, Piston, Diamond, Cowell, Hanson, Harris, and Hovhaness (to name but a few)...Perception could very well change with the release of Lance Friedel and the London Symphony Orchestra's recent SACD for BIS, American Symphonies (BIS-2118).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 12, 2018  |  23 comments
Inveterate news junkies of the world, your way out has come. For at least one good hour of your otherwise doom-laden day, you have a reason to turn off Fox or CNN and drift on feathery clouds to a far sweeter place. Your exit has been most graciously supplied by pianist Stephen Hough—he of Stephen Hough's Dream Album—whose latest recorded achievement may well be hailed as the most engaging, charming, and delightful recording of the year... or even the decade.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 05, 2018  |  3 comments
There is music so new, so original, so contemplative, and so deeply felt that it makes you want to listen, and then demands that you listen again. It's music whose layers peel back over time, as it draws you deeper into its mysteries. For premiere recordings of compositions that address time and place, and then often take you beyond them, Transcendent (DE 3555), the first offering on Delos from composer/orchestrator Chad Cannon's Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI), earns its title.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 28, 2018  |  5 comments
Got the blues from too much real news about the fake news, and too much fake news about the real news? Harmonia Mundi's recent release of Franz Schubert's Octet (Oktett) in F, D803, on which violinist Isabelle Faust joins a superb ensemble of fellow period-instrument musicians, may be just the scream-saver that the doctor recommended.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 22, 2018  |  5 comments
Duo Noire's debut recording for New Focus Recordings, Night Triptych, covers so many bases, and speaks so clearly to contemporary realities, that it immediately qualifies for several gold stars. But once you hear the sheer musicality of its premiere recordings of six new works for duo guitar, and how wonderfully they are played, you may be tempted to award the album several more.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 15, 2018  |  62 comments
Given how much fuller and more natural I find hi-rez audio sounds, I rarely review recordings that are only available in Red Book quality in the US. But when the soprano is Sandrine Piau, whose voice conveyed the essence of springtime when I heard her live at UC Berkeley a little over six years go, and she sings as marvelously as she does on Chimère, her latest song recital with pianist Susan Manoff, I throw such self-imposed strictures out the window.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 07, 2018  |  8 comments
For a major, decidedly American change of pace from our usual fare of Prokofiev, Debussy, Xenakis, Berg, and Beethoven (for starters), let's lighten up with Reference Recordings' latest hybrid SACD, John Williams at the Movies? Also available as a 176.4/24 download—the format in which it was recorded and which I auditioned for this review—the performances by the Dallas Wind Band under Jerry Junkin are so vivid and color-saturated that RR has chosen them for their first hybrid high-resolution wind-band SACD.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 02, 2018  |  33 comments
Why the title, "Prokofiev for Two and a Half," for a Deutsche Grammophon recording on which Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan play Babayan's two-piano transcriptions of music from Prokofiev's ballet Romeo & Juliet and four of his operas? Because any recording that features the outsized pianism of the great Argerich immediately becomes one of extraordinary importance for artistic resources that are inherently doubled by at least 50%.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 24, 2018  |  2 comments
Soprano/composer Patrice Michaels with Ruth Bader Ginsburg at Glimmerglass in 2016

First there was the epithet, "Notorious RBG," which NYC law student Shana Knizhnik coined in 2013 (in a sly riff on the name of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's fellow Brooklynite and rapper, The Notorious B.I.G.) as the name of her Tumblr site. Then came Derrick Wang's, Scalia/Ginsburg, an opera based on the odd-bedfellows friendship of two SCOTUS justices and opera lovers from opposite sides of the political spectrum, Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. This year has already brought the next two artistic steps in the process of honoring the 85-year old Supreme Court justice: the documentary RBG and, from Cedille Records, Notorious RBG in Song.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 20, 2018  |  18 comments
Twenty-five years after the premiere of John Adams' Violin Concerto, the music remains as vital, exhilarating, and strangely moving as the day it was birthed. An extremely demanding work, its three contrasting movements present a triathlon challenge of sorts to anyone who dares try to play them.

Here, she who rises to the challenge is violinist Leila Josefowicz. Provocatively pictured on the CD cover as a curious cross between an athlete in repose and Rodin's reflective thinker...

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 18, 2018  |  10 comments
If the two works on this recording, Xenakis's Psappha (1975) and Feldman's The King of Denmark (1964), aren't exactly new, their construction and sound are radical in the extreme.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 10, 2018  |  20 comments
Why should you or anyone care about a 24/192 download reissue of recordings of two Mahler song cycles that were made in Vienna and New York in 1968 by conductor Leonard Bernstein and three of his favorite singers, mezzo Christa Ludwig, her bass-baritone husband Walter Berry, and baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau? After all, the recordings are "old" and the music much older, all but one of the artists is dead, the language is German, and the reissue lacks lyrics and translations . . .
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 02, 2018  |  8 comments
There is music so unique, so colorful, and so potentially challenging for the casual listener that words like "pretty" or "entertaining" go flying out the window. Such is the case with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard's mind-boggling recording of Olivier Messiaen's (1908–1992) Catalogue d'Oiseaux. Anything but background music for a relaxed evening by the fire or in the hot tub, the Catalogue consists of 13 extended odes for solo piano, each of which was inspired by a different bird species. Recorded by Pentatone in 24/96 hi-rez stereo and surround in the famous Saal 1, Funkhaus, Nalepastrasse, Berlin, and issued as a three-disc SACD set (PTC 5186 670), the box includes a bonus DVD on which Aimard, a professor at the Hochschule Köln, discusses the pieces at length and offers insights into Messiaen the man and composer.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 27, 2018  |  21 comments
Two of America's finest baroque musicians, flutist Stephen Schultz and harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, have teamed up to record J.S. Bach: Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord (Music & Arts). Available in both CD and hi-rez 24/96 formats, this sparkling collection of four sonatas was recorded in Skywalker Sound's "The Scoring Stage," whose variable acoustics were adjusted for maximum reverberation by Jack Vad (recording engineer and producer of San Francisco Symphony's recordings) and Dann Thompson (one of the in-house engineers at Skywalker).

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