Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 03, 2017  |  56 comments
Warner's 5-CD box set, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: The Complete 78 rpm Recordings 1946–1952 is a vocal lover's dream. Filled with recordings made when the soprano was between 30 and 37 years of age—she was born December 9, 1915—this bargain bonanza confirms that Schwarzkopf's oft-brilliant, sometimes outré interpretations of art song and opera were an essential part of her artistic personality from the get-go.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 30, 2018  |  3 comments
Why review another recording of Stravinsky's great ballet score for the 1913 season of Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)? Besides the fact that it's a fabulous performance, it's part of a disc that: 1) showcases one of our most renowned conductors, Riccardo Chailly, leading the superb Lucerne Festival Orchestra; 2) includes the world premiere recording of Stravinsky's long-lost 11-minute Chant Funèbre, Op.5 (1908), a tribute to his late teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, which disappeared after its first performance at a memorial concert in St. Petersburg in 1909 and was only re-discovered in 2015; and 3) places Rite in the context of that early work and three that preceded it, thereby affording a long view of Stravinsky's path to first bloom artistic maturity.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Feb 26, 2017  |  4 comments
Fear not. Not only is Adam Schoenberg, 36, one of America's most performed living composers, but his music (and, perhaps DNA) bears no relationship to the horrors of that 20th century demon of twelve-tone discord, Arnold Schoenberg. Quite the contrary. The three works on the new, vividly recorded Adam Schoenberg hybrid SACD from Reference Recordings, recorded in 24/176.4 surround and played by the Kansas City Symphony under Michael Stern, are deliciously tonal, filled with color and energy, and irrepressibly optimistic.
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  |  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  |  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  |  Sep 02, 2016  |  3 comments
It's shocking to go from the sound of soprano Anna Netrebko's voice on her first DG recital of Opera Arias to that on her latest disc, Verismo. The earlier disc, recorded in March, 2003 when Netrebko was 32, showcases a true, shining lyric soprano whose vocal production is absolutely smooth. Over 12 years later, when Netrebko recorded Verismo between July 2015 and June 2016, her weightier low range lacks shine, and her stronger and sometimes wider vibrato occasionally shows signs of a beat.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 02, 2018  |  7 comments
No violinist is more equipped to perform the music of Krzysztof Penderecki than Anne-Sophie Mutter. The composer dedicated his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No.2, Metamorphosen (1992–1996), to her after hearing her perform at a young age—Mutter subsequently recorded Metamorphosen with Penderecki conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in 1997—she has commissioned three works from him. If anyone can be said to have Penderecki's music in their blood, it is Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Which does not make any of the four works on her new two-CDs-for-the-price-of-one set from Deutsche Grammophon, Hommage à Penderecki, any easier to wrap your arms around on first hearing.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 01, 2019  |  6 comments
What’s the most frequently performed new opera in America at present? It’s Laura Kaminsky’s 2014 chamber opera, As One, whose libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed explores the coming out process of its protagonist, Hannah, as a transgender woman.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 01, 2018  |  7 comments
It is doubtful that pianist Alexander Melnikov had audiophiles in mind when he decided to record great works by Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, and Stravinsky on pianos the composers were accustomed to hearing and playing at the time of composition. Melnikov is, after all, an early music specialist who, like András Schiff, has a number of impeccably restored historic instruments in his personal collection. Nonetheless, given that Harmonia Mundi has recorded him in high resolution (24/96), seemingly without compression, in the fine acoustic of Teldex Studio Berlin, and that each instrument has a sound and dynamic range distinctly its own, the recording is an audiophile must-have.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 30, 2019  |  0 comments
As the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven approaches, artists worldwide have begun issuing complete recordings of his oeuvre. At the top of a fast-growing list, three stand out: Andris Nelsons' recording of Beethoven's nine symphonies with the Wiener Philarmoniker (Decca), Igor Levit's issue of Beethoven's Complete Piano Sonatas (Sony), and the subject of this review, the Miró Quartet's 8-CD set of Beethoven's Complete String Quartets (Pentatone PTC5186827).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 20, 2019  |  16 comments
For all those who love Beethoven, for all who wish to honor conductor Bernard Haitink's 90th birthday earlier this month (March 4), and for all who've been posting variations of, "Jason, for the love of God, free us from the horrors of contemporary music," this one's for you. Live from the London Symphony Orchestra, we present Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.2, Triple Concerto in C for piano, violin, and cello, and Leonore Overture No.2, Op.72a from LSO Live (LSO0745D). Although identified as a "CD" by arkivmusic.com and Amazon, this is a hi-resolution SACD, recorded in DSD64.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 11, 2017  |  18 comments
1915. Marcel Duchamp's nude has already descended the staircase, Arnold Schoenberg's Three Orchestral Pieces, Op.16 have shattered tonality, and the old order is crumbling. It is in this context that 30-year old Alban Berg completes his Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op.6, which is now available as the San Francisco Symphony's first download-only release in resolutions up to 24/192.
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  |  Sep 22, 2018  |  3 comments
How many who love Bernstein's "popular" music—everything from On the Town and West Side Story to the final Arias and Barcarolles—have actually spent time with his three "serious," gravely introspective symphonies? Perhaps the best way to do so in up-to-date sound is to dive into Warner Classics' superbly annotated and recorded Bernstein: The 3 Symphonies from Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra, Chorus, and "Voci Bianche" of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Together with excellent soloists, Pappano presents the three symphonies on two CDs, with options of a 24/96 download and hi-rez streaming in MQA on Tidal. The recording balances out Bernstein's three soul-searching introspections with the original version of Prelude, Fugue and Riffs for clarinet and jazz ensemble, which Bernstein initially conceived for the Woody Herman Band.

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