Jason Victor Serinus

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 17, 2020  |  23 comments
B>Cecilia Bartoli: Farinelli
Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano; Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini, cond.
Decca 4850214 (24/96 download). 2019. Arend Prohmann, prod. and editor; Philip Siney, eng.
Performance: *****
Sonics: ****

When I first heard mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli in person some 29 years ago, at her West Coast debut in the "Cal Performances" series at Berkeley's Hertz Hall, she was just 24 years old. Along with the rest of the audience, I was astonished at her ability to ally phenomenal coloratura technique with an out-of-the-box range of expression—unheard since the prime of Maria Callas. It was clear why Decca had already signed her and released her first recording the year before, when she was just 23.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 28, 2019  |  29 comments
As the decade draws to a close, many of us choose to gather with people we love so that together we can celebrate and give thanks for our blessings. In that spirit, I offer a new hybrid SACD/Download of a perennial favorite, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D minor. Op. 125 “Choral” (BIS 2451), whose memorable finale celebrates the joy of oneness with humanity and the divine.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 19, 2019  |  46 comments
What kind of creature is this? Gryphon Audio Designs' new Ethos ($39,000)—pronounced EE-toss by its Danish manufacturers—is marketed as a CD player and digital-to-analog converter. It's decidedly au courant in that it includes two 32-bit/768kHz ES9038PRO Sabre DAC chips—one for each channel—with each holding eight individual DAC chips; offers optional upsampling to either 24/384 PCM or DSD128; and decodes up to 32/384 PCM and quadruple DSD (DSD512) via its USB input, or up to 24/192 (and no DSD) via AES/EBU or S/PDIF.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 18, 2019  |  4 comments
Yup, it sounds weirder than hell, even if talk of hell is best tabled at Christmastime. But never mind: The New Orleans Jazz Band of Cologne’s Santa Claus is Coming to Town is the real swinging thing.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 02, 2019  |  6 comments
“Musical scavenger” Bryce Dessner, the composer/musician who gained fame as principal songwriter of American rock band The National, describes his process as collecting sounds that appeal to him and trying them out. Classically trained, he’s one of a growing number of artists whose cross-genre music, when performed by string quartets, orchestras, and ensembles, has been central to broadening the definition of classical music in the 21st century. Dessner is also one of eight “extraordinary artists, thinkers and doers” appointed to a collective that will help steer conductor/composer Esa-Pekka Salonen when he succeeds Michael Tilson Thomas as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony in September.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 29, 2019  |  16 comments
I was less than thrilled by Editor-in-Chief Jim Austin's suggestion to review the solid-state Krell K-300i integrated amplifier ($7000, plus an additional $1000 for the optional DAC). I had recently reviewed another $7000 integrated amplifier, the quite different hybrid Aesthetix Mimas, and while I ended up liking the Mimas a whole lot, I felt decidedly lukewarm about having to recalibrate expectations for another integrated, especially one that costs far less than my reference Dan D'Agostino Progression monoblocks ($38,000/pair) and whose DAC option is a fraction of the price of my reference dCS Rossini DAC/Rossini Clock combination ($31,498 plus cables). How good could it be?
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 16, 2019  |  44 comments
Bellevue, Washington: On Wednesday and Thursday, Nov 13 and 14, Definitive Audio in Bellevue hosted multiple by-invitation showings of Wilson Audio’s just-unveiled Chronosonic XVX loudspeaker.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 12, 2019  |  7 comments
New York, NY. On November 8, at the very small New York Audio Show, Paris-based music streaming service Qobuz announced that it has streamlined its subscription plans, lowered prices, and discontinued MP3 streaming.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Nov 01, 2019  |  29 comments
Why?

That's the question that many will ask about the new Grand Prix Monza equipment rack, prices for which start at $19,000 for a four-tier, 42"-tall rack and can even stretch to $29,500 for my review sample, which comprises a double-width, fourtier, 42"-tall rack (two side-by-side stacks of four shelves each) with two matching Monza amp stands. Why spend all that money when a solid oak table, built-in shelving, or Great Aunt Tillie's antique cabinet might do the trick?

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 30, 2019  |  0 comments
As the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven approaches, artists worldwide have begun issuing complete recordings of his oeuvre. At the top of a fast-growing list, three stand out: Andris Nelsons' recording of Beethoven's nine symphonies with the Wiener Philarmoniker (Decca), Igor Levit's issue of Beethoven's Complete Piano Sonatas (Sony), and the subject of this review, the Miró Quartet's 8-CD set of Beethoven's Complete String Quartets (Pentatone PTC5186827).

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