Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 12, 2018  |  20 comments
Inveterate news junkies of the world, your way out has come. For at least one good hour of your otherwise doom-laden day, you have a reason to turn off Fox or CNN and drift on feathery clouds to a far sweeter place. Your exit has been most graciously supplied by pianist Stephen Hough—he of Stephen Hough's Dream Album—whose latest recorded achievement may well be hailed as the most engaging, charming, and delightful recording of the year... or even the decade.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 05, 2018  |  3 comments
There is music so new, so original, so contemplative, and so deeply felt that it makes you want to listen, and then demands that you listen again. It's music whose layers peel back over time, as it draws you deeper into its mysteries. For premiere recordings of compositions that address time and place, and then often take you beyond them, Transcendent (DE 3555), the first offering on Delos from composer/orchestrator Chad Cannon's Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI), earns its title.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 31, 2018  |  2 comments
We who love recordings of massed voices have learned the hard way that some succeed in blending vocal clarity with acoustic resonance, while others deliver echo-muddied jumbles. Happily, some very fine choral recordings have come my way in the last six months. Along with John Atkinson's acoustically stunning engineering of recordings by the vocally gifted Portland State Chamber Choir and the all-male ensemble Cantus, these aural documents do composers proud.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 28, 2018  |  5 comments
Got the blues from too much real news about the fake news, and too much fake news about the real news? Harmonia Mundi's recent release of Franz Schubert's Octet (Oktett) in F, D803, on which violinist Isabelle Faust joins a superb ensemble of fellow period-instrument musicians, may be just the scream-saver that the doctor recommended.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 24, 2018  |  42 comments
It was almost seven years ago that Nelson Pass, whose talks and exhibits I'd covered at many a Bay Area Burning Amp DIY event and audio show, surprised me with a loan of two Pass Laboratories' XA 160.5 class-A monoblock amplifiers. Ten months later, after I'd commented that my system had challenged the XA 160.5s in the bass department, he sent me a pair of XA200.5 monos. I connected those bigger babies to Wilson Audio Sophia 3 loudspeakers and some now-discontinued digital components with Nordost Odin 1 interconnects and speaker cables. Then came my way, toward the end of 2016, the XA200.8 monoblocks ($42,000/pair).

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 22, 2018  |  5 comments
Duo Noire's debut recording for New Focus Recordings, Night Triptych, covers so many bases, and speaks so clearly to contemporary realities, that it immediately qualifies for several gold stars. But once you hear the sheer musicality of its premiere recordings of six new works for duo guitar, and how wonderfully they are played, you may be tempted to award the album several more.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 15, 2018  |  62 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.

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