Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 15, 2018  |  5 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.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 01, 2018  |  3 comments
I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to finally get a hold of the 24/96 files for There's a Place for Us, soprano Nadine Sierra's debut album on Deutsche Grammophon/Decca Gold. Just three years after Sierra won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2009, at the age of 20, she journeyed to San Francisco where I heard her, first, in San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program, then as an Adler Fellow, and finally a star on the main stage of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. I was immediately taken by the beauty of her voice and her total ease onstage. Serious one minute, girlishly free and hilarious the next, her every appearance was a joy.
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.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 17, 2018  |  3 comments
After umpteen serious reviews, penned in serious and somber times, it's high time to lighten up. Hence to Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town we go, and to Sir Simon Rattle's new SACD of the musical, recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra and a stellar cast that includes Danielle de Niese (Eileen), Alysha Umphress (Ruth), and Nathan Gunn (Bob).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 09, 2018  |  1 comments
Other Minds, the San Francisco-based organization that champions music so far ahead of its time that the 21st century is still catching up with what OM championed in the last millennium, has turned its ear to archival works by unsung electronic music pioneers from the Bay Area and beyond. In its latest offering of digital-only Modern Hits releases, two of which are hi-rez (24/44.1), OM champions the music of Philip Bimstein, Tom Djll, Jerry Hunt, and Alden Jenks.
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.

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