Russell's two previous Telarc releases were of solo guitar music by Barrios (CD-80373) and by Torroba (CD-80451). Of this latest release, he says: "For me, the most important thing about this recording is the fact that I had the opportunity to record all the guitar concertos on one CD. I have known Joaquin Rodrigo for many years, and it has always been my intention to record some of his music, but to be able to study in depth all his works for solo guitar, and also his concertos, has been an enriching experience which I hope is reflected in the recording."
Concierto de Aranjuez was written at a time when Rodrigo was outside of Spain. He returned to Madrid at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, and premiered the piece, which was an immediate success. The Fantasia para un Gentilhombre was composed for Andres Segovia in 1954, and is based on a set of pieces by the late seventeenth-century composer Gaspar Sanz.
The final piece (and, according to Rodrigo, his last piece to be written for guitar and orchestra), the Concierto para una Fiesta, was composed in 1982 for Pepe Romero on a commission. It is the least known of the composer's works. According to Russell, Rodrigo wishes to hear more performances of his late works. "This is only now beginning to happen," he says. "I hope that this recording shows the merit in his later writing." Russell plays a guitar made by Matthias Dammann, with strings by D'Addario.
Born in Glasgow in 1953, David Russell moved with his parents to the Spanish island of Menorca as a young boy, and it was there that he learned to play the guitar. At the age of sixteen, he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. He has twice won the Julian Bream Guitar prize, and, over the last two decades, has won virtually every international competition, including Spain's most prestigious, the Francisco Tarrega Competition.