Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 27, 2016  |  19 comments
The second I encountered Dynaudio's Focus 200 XD powered loudspeaker at the High End 2015 show in Munich, Germany, it called to me. I wasn't so much drawn to its unique functions—which I describe below—as by the fact that it could help fill the black hole left by the dismantling of my reference system for my move from big, badass Oakland, California to the small, magical town of Port Townsend, Washington.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 26, 2016  |  5 comments
One of America's most vital living composers—New Yorker Steve Reich—turns 80 on October 3. In celebration, Deutsche Grammophon and ECM, two companies that greatly helped build Reich's reputation by recording his initially uncategorizable forays into minimalism, have reissued their seminal efforts. From DG comes the 3-LP set, Steve Reich: Drumming, a reissue of its 1974 vinyl box that included Drumming (1970–71), Six Pianos, and Music for Mallet Instrument, Voices and Organ (both from 1973). From ECM, in turn, comes a 3-CD set, Steve Reich: The ECM Recordings.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 23, 2016  |  24 comments
You read that correctly. 2017 will see the advent of two, potentially competing high-end audio shows, located just 35 miles and several congested freeways apart in Southern California. The first, the new Los Angeles Audio Show (LAAS), will take place June 2–4 in the Sheraton Gateway LAX, and is produced "in collaboration with the Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Society" (LAOCAS). The second, a continuation of T.H.E. Show Newport that was founded by the late Richard Beers and formerly supported by LAOCAS, will be held September 21–24 (September 21 reserved for press) in the Hilton Anaheim, near Disneyland.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 20, 2016  |  17 comments
What do Prince, David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Gato Barbieri, Phife Dawg, Frank Sinatra Jr., Keith Emerson (Emerson Lake & Palmer), Dan Hicks (Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks), Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson (Jefferson Airplane), Glenn Frey (Eagles), Dale Griffin (Mott the Hoople), pianist Paul Bley, bassist Rob Wasserman, sopranos Susan Chilcott, Phyllis Curtin, and Denise Duval, countertenor Brian Asawa, composers Steven Edward Stucky and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and conductors Pierre Boulez, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gilbert Kaplan, Gregg Smith, and Royston Nash have in common? Besides the fact that all were musicians who made multiple recordings and who died in 2016, their recorded legacies rarely, if ever, get airplay at dealerships or audio shows.
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  |  Aug 27, 2016  |  13 comments
The news is not simply that Best Buy/Magnolia stores' 82 Hi-Resolution Listening Stations which they developed in the US in conjunction with Sony, have proven so successful, and generated so much interest in hi-res, that the company has added 250 more listening locations around the country. It's also that we now have data that shows a major reason for the expansion: Far more people care about sound quality than many would have you believe.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 26, 2016  |  7 comments
Almost 20 years separate the First and Second Violin Concertos of Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953), but they share a language of such ravishing beauty and unexpected transitions that they seem like first cousins. Among their many recordings, violinist Vadim Gluzman reading with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) under Neeme Järvi's on a BIS hybrid SACD, entitled Prokofiev • Violin Concertos, Etc, easily holds its own against classic recordings by Heifetz, Milstein, and, more recently, Vengerov with Rostropovich.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 14, 2016  |  7 comments
It is more than fair to say that In C (1964), a repetitive composition of unpredictable length by California native Terry Riley (b. 1935), forever changed the course of modern music. If you want to have a fabulous time learning why, listen to In C on Four Four Three: The Music of Terry Riley. The new DSD-native recording from Channel Classics by the Ragazze String Quartet, percussion quartet Slagwerk Den Haag, and genre-redefining drumkit/French horn/guitar trio Kapok, can be purchased in either CD format or as a stereo or multichannel download in resolutions up to Quad DSD. This collective achievement is so superbly recorded by Jared Sacks, and so colorful, that it will likely send your head spinning into another dimension.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 30, 2016  |  6 comments
Virtually every new recording of Mozart's great opera, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), is eagerly anticipated. The opera is, after all, an indisputable masterpiece, and frequently described as the most perfect opera ever written. Not only does it contain an irresistible flood of melody, with one hummable, ear worm-like tune after the other, but its music also unfailingly serves da Ponte's libretto. This recording, of concert performances that took place in the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in July 2015, is especially important for two reasons. The first is its star-studded cast of younger and veteran singers, among whom are four extremely well knowns: bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni (Figaro), baritone Thomas Hampson (Count Almaviva), mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter (Marcellina), and tenor Rolando Villazón (Basilio).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 24, 2016  |  4 comments
One of the great joys of reviewing is discovering music with ideas so fresh, and harmonic progressions so inventive, that the simple act of listening without distraction inspires unique emotional and intellectual journeys. Such is the case every time I listen to the recent ECM New Series release, Danish String Quartet: Thomas Adès Per Nørgård Hans Abrahamsen.

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