Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 01, 2018  |  7 comments
It is doubtful that pianist Alexander Melnikov had audiophiles in mind when he decided to record great works by Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, and Stravinsky on pianos the composers were accustomed to hearing and playing at the time of composition. Melnikov is, after all, an early music specialist who, like András Schiff, has a number of impeccably restored historic instruments in his personal collection. Nonetheless, given that Harmonia Mundi has recorded him in high resolution (24/96), seemingly without compression, in the fine acoustic of Teldex Studio Berlin, and that each instrument has a sound and dynamic range distinctly its own, the recording is an audiophile must-have.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 30, 2018  |  3 comments
Why review another recording of Stravinsky's great ballet score for the 1913 season of Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)? Besides the fact that it's a fabulous performance, it's part of a disc that: 1) showcases one of our most renowned conductors, Riccardo Chailly, leading the superb Lucerne Festival Orchestra; 2) includes the world premiere recording of Stravinsky's long-lost 11-minute Chant Funèbre, Op.5 (1908), a tribute to his late teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, which disappeared after its first performance at a memorial concert in St. Petersburg in 1909 and was only re-discovered in 2015; and 3) places Rite in the context of that early work and three that preceded it, thereby affording a long view of Stravinsky's path to first bloom artistic maturity.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 22, 2018  |  3 comments
When Michael McCormick, president of Bel Canto Design, suggested that I review their Black ACI 600 integrated amplifier, I accepted without hesitation. As wonderful as my reference system may sound, its dCS digital front end alone comprises four boxes and a web of cables complex enough to send many a spider spinning. Given the choice between connecting that front end to a pair of expensive, enormous monoblocks—with their similarly expensive AC cords and equipment racks/isolation platforms—or to a single, visually elegant, 45-lb box that costs $25,000, produces 300Wpc into 8 ohms, and requires only a single power cord and shelf, I think many an audiophile, even those with lots of money, might gravitate toward the latter.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 18, 2018  |  26 comments
Back in October 2016, I was called to the table by Kal Rubinson when I heaped copious praise on Ivan Fischer's Channel Classics SACD of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.6 in b, Op.74, "Pathétique." Now, after hearing Teodor Currentzis' devastating account for Sony of the Pathétique with Russia's MusicAeterna Orchestra, I understand the folly of my ways.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 16, 2018  |  18 comments
Having fun at Music Matters 13: Peter McGrath (Wilson), Josh Clark (Transparent Cable), and Stereophile's Jason Victor Serinus (photo, Peter McGrath).

Hailed as the finest public audio retailer event in the United States, Definitive Audio's 13th annual Music Matters event on March 8 drew a huge crowd to the store's Seattle location. Having now covered four Music Matters, I can state with certainty that the sound at MM13 surpassed that heard on previous occasions, and showcased equipment in the best possible light.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 11, 2018  |  21 comments
Winner of the 2018 Grammy for "Best Classical Solo Album," "Recording of the Month" in BBC Music Magazine, nominated for a 2018 Juno Award (Canada's version of the Grammy, coming March 24), listed in "Best Classical Music Recordings 2017" of the New York Times, and recipient of multiple European honors, Crazy Girl Crazy must be heard. Created by the phenomenally versatile Canadian soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan, the Alpha label album/bonus DVD package showcases Hannigan and the Ludwig Orchestra performing three landmark 20th century masterworks—Berio's conception-shattering, impossibly acrobatic Sequenza III (1965); Berg's Lulu Suite (1926); and three Gershwin gems from Girl Crazy (1930)—arranged into a new Girl Crazy Suite (2016) by Bill Elliott and Hannigan.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 02, 2018  |  15 comments
Devastating in power and impact, Laurie Anderson's sonically all-encompassing, three-dimensional Landfall takes, as its ostensible start, the ravaging impact of Superstorm Sandy. But, given that this evening-long melding of string quartet, text, and electronically-manipulated soundscape, created for and with the Kronos Quartet, is by one of America's most prescient, larger-visioned multi-media performance artists, Landfall ultimately addresses the cataclysmic nature of life in modern times in ways that drive the sense of loss deep into one's being.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Feb 25, 2018  |  5 comments
New, well-recorded albums of Verdi arias from two of the Metropolitan Opera's biggest and most heralded stars - Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva, 36, and Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, 40, give as much cause for excitement as they do for pause. As fine as the singing may be on Sonya Yoncheva: The Verdi Album (Sony) and Calleja: Verdi (Decca), the ways in which these artists push their voices to encompass heavier repertoire raises questions as to how long they can sustain such pressure on their instruments without serious sacrifice.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Feb 19, 2018  |  77 comments
The Nonesuch Records CD Steve Reich: Pulse / Quartet arrived with its sonic bonus unheralded. With no MQA designation on the album cover or disc, few would have known of its MQA provenance had not posts appeared on Facebook that, when inserted in a player capable of decoding MQA, it can deliver high-resolution MQA.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Feb 15, 2018  |  23 comments
The 2018 audio show season is about to start and it's not just Stereophile's coverage of high-end audio shows—which has taken a leap forward with the inclusion of Jana Dagdagan's binaural videos—that's changing. The shows themselves are on the move.

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