Audiences and critics around the world have praised the artistry and musicianship of guitarist David Russell. Since his 1995 release of music by Paraguayan guitarist-composer Augustín Barrios, commended for its "technical ease" and "understated virtuosity," Russell has made six other highly acclaimed recordings for Telarc.
For his latest release, Reflections of Spain, Russell has assembled some of the best-loved and most characteristic pieces of Spain's guitar repertory, including his own arrangements of works by Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados.
The works of Albeniz, infused with the styles and traditions of Spain's indigenous music, served as the model and inspiration for his colleague Granados and for the later generation of Falla and Turina. Featured here are the colorful Asturias, based on a type of music native to that region; Sevilla (taken from sevillanas, a variant of the ancient flamenco dance form the seguidilla); and Mallorca, originally a piano piece written in the form of a barcarolle—the traditional song of the Venetian gondoliers.
Valses poeticos is one of Enrique Granados' early piano works, based more upon the classic, Northern European form than his later nationalistic compositions, such as his Spanish Dances, of which two are featured on this recording: Andaluza (Spanish Dance No. 5) and Danza melancolica (No. 10). In 1912, the composer set to music ten lyrics inspired by the paintings of Goya, and called them Tonadillas al estilo antiguo ("Songs in Ancient Style"). The eighth song of the cycle, La Maja de Goya ("The Woman of Goya") evokes the sensual world of the artist as seen in an image of his lover.
Francisco Tarrega was one of the twentieth century's most important figures in the history of the guitar. His performances in Paris and London in 1880 helped to legitimize the guitar as a concert instrument, and at his death in 1909 he was universally acknowledged for his influence as a teacher, performer, arranger, and composer. Featured here are two of his most famous pieces: the Capricho Arabe and the atmospheric Recuerdos de la Alhambra ("Remembrances of the Alhambra").
Rounding out the recording are the Cancion y Danza No. 1, by the Franco-Spanish composer Antonio Ruiz-Pipo; and the Serenata espanola by Joaquin Malats.
Born in Glasgow in 1953, David Russell moved to the Spanish island of Menorca with his parents while still a small child. There he studied guitar with his father, an accomplished guitarist. At age sixteen, he moved to London where he studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Winner of numerous awards and competitions, he twice won the Julian Bream prize, as well as the Andres Segovia Competition and the Francisco Tarrega Competition. In recognition of his great talent, the Royal Academy of Music named him a Fellow in 1997.
For this recording, Russell plays a Matthias Dammann guitar with D'Addario strings.