Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 15, 2018  |  3 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 21, 2018  |  35 comments
On the second morning of a recent audio show, I walked into the exhibit room of Bricasti Design.

"How about some Mahler?" asked cofounder and designer Brian Zolner.

"Oh God. Not at 10am!"

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 28, 2018  |  7 comments
Dave Wilson stands with his final design, the WAMM Master Chronosonic speaker system from 2016. (Photo: John Giolas)

Wilson Audio founder, Dave Wilson, 73, died of metastatic bone cancer on Saturday evening, May 26. Dave was receiving hospice care at his Utah home, and took his leave with his beloved wife and partner, Sheryl Lee Wilson, and other family members at his side.

Dave's exit came after he had overseen the 2006 expansion of Wilson Audio's factory in Provo, Utah by over 60%; announced, in November 2016, the succession of his son, Daryl Wilson (then 38) as CEO and President of Wilson Audio; and completed his magnum opus/ultimate statement, the limited edition WAMM Master Chronosonic loudspeaker ($685,000/pair). Secure in the knowledge that Daryl, who had already contributed to or taken over the design of at least 32 successful loudspeaker models, he was able to depart with a sense that his legacy as one of the great innovators in loudspeaker design will live on.

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