"David Russell is a guitarist's guitarist. His playing embodies unforced, thoughtful musicality, made possible by an apparently effortless technique—something only a few players ever attain, let alone harness to the ends to which Russell has."—Acoustic Guitar
Joaquín Rodrigo, one of Spain's best-known composers, once asserted that Spanish music possessed "a profound rhythmic beat [that] seems to be diffused by a strange phantasmagoric, colossal and multiform instrument." This imaginary instrument, Rodrigo suggested, "might be said to possess the wings of the harp, the heart of the grand piano, and the soul of the guitar."
David Russell brings Rodrigo's mythical instrument to life in his new Telarc release, Spanish Legends, a tribute to some of the most brilliant composers and virtuosi of Spain. The 26-track program captures the genius and inspiration of four great Spanish guitarists: Regino Sainz de la Maza, Miguel Llobet, Andrés Segovia and Emilio Pujol.
Regino Sainz de la Maza (1896-1981) is best known for premiering and championing the most beloved of all guitar concertos, Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. He toured the world extensively from the 1930s to the 1950s, and Rodrigo praised his interpretation of his concerto as "lean, precise and to the point." Sainz de la Maza's compositions are in a traditional style redolent of Castilian and Adalusian folk song.
Miguel Llobet (1878-1938) was an important catalyst for the international recognition of the guitar as a concert instrument. In addition, he made some of the first electrical recordings of the instrument, and introduced new works by Manuel de Falla, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Manuel Ponce and others. He composed several original pieces and made arrangements of many traditional Catalan songs and dances.
Andrés Segovia (1893-1987) was a guitar phenomenon. He was a self-taught and innovative player who developed unprecedented timbral and expressive resources for the instrument, and who worked with luthiers to develop more resonant instruments better suited to large concert halls. Segovia was one of the most-recorded artists of his generation, and a renowned teacher who conducted masterclasses in Spain, Italy and the United States—and in so doing, nurtured many of the outstanding guitarists of the following generation.
Emilio Pujol (1886-1980) gave his first performance at the Paris World Exposition at age 12. He performed around the world throughout the early 1900s, then expanded the scope of his work in the 1920s to include teaching and historical research—pursuits that he maintained for the remainder of his life. In addition to his performing, teaching and research, Pujol also published more than 125 original compositions and some 300 transcriptions of early guitar music.
David Russell funnels the work of these four giants through his own brilliant sensibilities on Spanish Legends. Russell is a two-time winner of the Julian Bream Guitar Prize, and winner of numerous other international competitions, including the Andrés Segovia Competition, the Jose Ramirez Competition and Spain's prestigious Francisco Tárrega Competition. On stage and in the studio, his passion for his craft resonates through his flawless and seemingly effortless performances of the most demanding works. The attention to detail and provocative lyrical phrasing suggest an innate understanding of what each individual composer was striving to achieve. He brings to each piece a sense of personal adventure.