Jason Victor Serinus

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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 23, 2018  |  16 comments
Doshi Audio first crossed my radar at the 2010 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, where I wrote that the sound of the company's tubed monoblocks and preamp, connected to Wilson Audio Sasha loudspeakers via Transparent XL cables, "excelled in midrange strength as the system threw an exciting soundstage." After auditions of Doshi-Wilson pairings at many subsequent shows had convinced me that Doshi's products could truly sing, I contacted company owner and product designer Nishith "Nick" Doshi to inquire about reviewing one of his amps.
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 18, 2018  |  0 comments
Bernstein: Arias and Barcarolles
Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano; Ryan McKinny, bass-baritone; San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas
SFS Media SFS-0073 (24/96 download). 2018. Jack Vad, broadcast & mastering eng., postprod.; Jason O'Connell, post-prod. DDD. TT: 32:54
Performance ****½
Sonics ****

Why name this short digital download or streaming–only release of a live San Francisco Symphony performance from 2017—its native 24/96 PCM broadcast sound is a notch lower than the best-recorded titles in SFS Media's series of Davies Symphony Hall broadcasts— as our "Recording of the Month"? Because, as the centennial of the birth of Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990) draws to a close, this new recording of his eight Arias and Barcarolles from conductor Michael Tilson Thomas—whom Bernstein asked to play piano alongside him when the original version of the cycle, for four voices and piano four-hands, premiered in New York City in 1988—is definitive and essential listening.

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