Guitarist David Russell, known for "performances distinguished as much by their masterful range of colors as for their heartwarming glow" (Bay Area Reporter) releases a new album featuring distinctive works by four of the greatest Baroque masters for guitar. Suites from George Frideric Handel, François Couperin, and lutenist Silvius Leopold Weiss join J.S. Bach's Toccata from Partita No. VI in E minor (BWV 830) on this collection of timeless Baroque treasures.
Russell's playing has been hailed as "magnificent" by American Record Guide. "He is unfailingly lyrical, with a wide dynamic and timbral range and a congenital incapacity to make an ugly sound. His rhythmic drive is inexorable...and his elegant phrasing is always affecting." Russell's most recent Baroque recording for Telarc, David Russell Plays Bach, received praise for his "thoughtful, subtle, elegantly expressive, and stylistically accurate" interpretations of Johann Sebastian's oeuvre (Allmusic.com).
"Some time ago my good friend Hubert Kappel made a beautiful arrangement of the sixth partita by Bach and I have wanted to play the Toccata and Fugue, as it is such a magnificent piece. I decided it should be the opener for the CD," said Russell in speaking about the selections on this recording. "As a complement I played four Sinfonias, shorter pieces that Bach wrote for the keyboard (they are often referred to as three-part inventions)."
The Partita No. 6 in E minor (BWV 830) is one of Bach's most introspective keyboard compositions. It opens with an unusual Toccata, here expanded to incorporate a vast fugue as the central argument of the movement. Sinfonia No. 11 (G minor) recalls the dignified 18th-century Sarabande, a style Russell has recorded in various forms throughout his discography. The Handel Suite No. 7 in G minor is filled with references to French music, including an overture inspired by the work of Jean-Baptiste Lully to precede his operas for the court of Louis XIV. "The large scale suite by Handel is a piece which I transcribed thirty years ago and I have played it in many concerts," noted Russell. "It has a glorious beginning with an Overture that fits very well on the guitar and the last movement is a Passacaille, that is well known in several versions for different instruments,"
The French theme lends itself well to Vingt-Sixième Ordre ("26th Suite") from Book IV of Couperin's Pièces de Clavecin. Russell's original arrangements of these works for harpsichord match the sparkle and luminosity with which Silvius Leopold Weiss imbued his Suite in D major (Chiesa 14). "Couperin has been one of my favorite composers," said Russell. "I have recorded some other of his harpsichord pieces before. On this occasion I have transcribed four movements from the 26th ordre, each piece has a very distinct character, showing both the depth and the humor of his music."
"I closed my CD my new recording with the suite by Weiss which has been part of my repertoire for many years. The Passagaille is a wonderful piece that many guitarists have enjoyed playing and I had been looking forward to recording it for a long time."
The release of The Grandeur of the Baroque coincides with Russell's spring 2012 tour, with appearances in Chicago, Baltimore, and St. Louis, Kentucky, Arizona, Utah, and Georgia.
Winner of the 2005 Grammy® award for best instrumental soloist, guitarist David Russell is recognized worldwide for his superb musicianship and inspired artistry. Lauded by The New York Times for his "talent of extraordinary dimension," Russell has appeared regularly at prestigious halls in main cities, such as New York, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Madrid, Toronto or Rome. Since 1995, he has recorded exclusively for Telarc International, with which he has recorded sixteen CDs, among them the Grammy® - winning Aire Latino. Named a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music in London in 1997, Russell has also won the Medal of Honor from the Conservatory of the Balearics, along with numerous international competitions, including the Andrés Segovia Competition, the José Ramírez Competition and Spain's prestigious Francisco Tárrega Competition .
In 2009, Russell was named honorary member of "Amigos de la Guitarra", the oldest guitar society in Spain, and both a street in Es Migjorn, Minorca, and an auditorium at the music conservatory of Vigo have been named after him. The town of Nigrán, where he resides, awarded Russell a silver medal in recognition of his 2005 Grammy® win.