Jason Victor Serinus

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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 20, 2018  |  8 comments
At a recent dealer event in Seattle, after being impressed by the musical rightness of an Audio Research Corp. LS28 preamplifier and VT80SE power amplifier driving a pair of Sonus Faber Guarneri loudspeakers, I spoke with ARC's Dave Gordon about reviewing one of the company's new amplifiers. Less than a month later, two ARC Reference 160M tubed monoblock amplifiers ($30,000/pair) were headed my way.
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 11, 2018  |  1 comments
Berio, Boulez, Ravel: Sinfonia, Notations I–IV, La Valse
Ludovic Morlot, Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Roomful of Teeth
Seattle Symphony Media SSM 1018 (CD, 2.0- and 5.1-channel downloads at 24/96). 2018. Rosalie Contreras, Elena Dubinets, exec. prods.; Dmitriy Lipay, prod., eng.; Alexander Lipay, eng. DDD. TT: 58:20
Performance ****½
Sonics *****

What ties Luciano Berio's boundary-breaking Sinfonia for Eight Voices and Orchestra (1968–69) to Pierre Boulez's out-there Notations I–IV for Orchestra (1945/1978) to Maurice Ravel's progressively off-kilter La Valse (1906–1920)? The Seattle Symphony's about-to-depart music director, Ludovic Morlot, cites their "ingenious transformation of pre-existing musical material or styles." I'm also inclined to say that it's their descent into chaos, even madness, which these performances transcend with an impeccably controlled, highly refined aesthetic, which I auditioned in 24/96 2-channel.

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 07, 2018  |  13 comments
September 6 2018 marked the launch of Primephonic, which appears to be the world's most comprehensive classical music-streaming service. Currently available in the US, the UK, and its home base of the Netherlands via web and mobile applications—iPhone/iPad users can access it now, and Android users in October—Primephonic currently streams well over 1 million classical tracks from over 400 labels worldwide, including the three majors: Warner Classics (Erato, Virgin, Warner), Sony Classical (and Sony Masterworks), and Universal Music Group (including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Verve, and Mercury).
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  |  Aug 30, 2018  |  6 comments
Ever since the Tokyo Electro Acoustic Company (TEAC) founded its Esoteric division, in 1987, Esoteric's slogan has been "state of the art." Given Esoteric's impressive displays at audio shows, which reflect a consistency of ownership, staff, and philosophy of engineering, design, and manufacturing, I have longed to evaluate one of their hand-assembled models in my reference system. Any brand named Esoteric, and whose top line of products is named Grandioso, had better make superior products.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 29, 2018  |  4 comments
James Mallinson confers with Sir Georg Solti during playbacks for Mahler's Symphony No.3 in Chicago's Orchestra Hall in November 1982, from the CSO Archives

Legendary British record producer James Mallinson, whose close to five decades of work with Decca/London, Telarc, and the labels of the major orchestras in London, Chicago and St. Petersburg, died unexpectedly on Friday night, August 24. He leaves behind, in addition to his beloved wife and son, an estimable recorded legacy that earned him no less than 16 Grammy Awards and 49 Grammy nominations.

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.

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