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Air on a G String / David Russell


Release Date: 03/04/2008 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80693   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachSilvius Leopold WeissJacques de Saint-LucFrançois Couperin
Performer:  David Russell
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



AIR ON A G STRING David Russell (gtr) TELARC 80693 (62:18)


BACH (arr. Russell) Partita in a, BWV 1013. Cantata 156: Sinfonia/Arioso. Pastorale in F: Movement 3, BWV 590. Suite No.3 in D: Air, BWV 1068. Read more class="COMPOSER12">WEISS Fantasia in c. Sonata No. 5 in G: Prelude. Sonata No. 19 in F: Allemande. Courente royale. Tombeau sur la mort de M. Comte d’Logy (arr. Girollet). Sonata No. 22 in G: Allegro. SAINT-LUC Suite in D, “La prise de gaeta.” F. COUPERIN (arr. Russell) Les silvains. Les tours de passe-passe. Les barricades mistérieuses


The sonorous world of the Baroque that so artfully unites form and feeling in suites of dances and charmingly titled miniatures assembled from judiciously proportioned figurations and sequences, as well as affect-laden, long-lined melodies, is here explored with deep feeling, subtle nuance, and expressive tonal resource by David Russell, who proves himself an admirable guide to its riches, as well as an enlightened transcriber for guitar. In this eloquent survey we’re treated to the music of three of the preeminent composers of the age, along with that of Jacques de Saint-Luc, whom I haven’t encountered before, but who deserves to be heard in such elevated company. The thoughtfully constructed program contrasts the German Baroque of Bach and Weiss with the French and Flemish styles of François Couperin and Saint-Luc, respectively, revealing difficult to define but perceptible differences in manner, texture, and ornament. Saint-Luc (1616–c. 1710) illustrates the transmutation of the late Renaissance into the early Baroque, while Couperin is justly celebrated for his elegance and sensitive decoration.


Russell plays everything with loving attention without sacrificing forward momentum, even in the slower, “pathetic” or elegiac pieces, such as Weiss’s Tombeau sur la mort de M. Comte d’Logy . Faster, more energetic dances are robust but never pushed beyond musical limits. Everything progresses with satisfying naturalness, gently inflected by a modest rubato that never fragments the overall conception. The guitar’s timbre is “warmer” than that of the lute, although I won’t say it’s preferable, just different. Russell paints with well-chosen colors that amplify the mood and style of each piece and his playing should convince even purists that the guitar is not out of place in this repertoire. Speaking of purists, nine of the 24 tracks are transcriptions, including such well-known “monuments” as Bach’s Arioso from Cantata No.156 and Couperin’s Les barricades mistérieuses . Russell is faithful to the originals, and especially in the Arioso, beautifully differentiates the melody from the muted, plucked accompaniment. He works similar magic in the “Air on a G String.” My one caveat concerning transcriptions is that associating a piece with a particular instrument can predispose the listener to reject the new “voice.” This was especially evident in Les barricades mistérieuses , where I’m forced to admit that the harpsichord’s silvery sheen imparts an aura the guitar can’t match.


Listening to David Russell, I felt like a time-traveling guest at one of the courts that echoed to the strains of this refined, multi-hued music, while simultaneously savoring the contemporary interpretations of a master guitarist. Inspired and recommended.


FANFARE: Robert Schulslaper
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Works on This Recording

1. Partita for Flute solo in A minor, BWV 1013 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1720s; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Notes: Arranger: David Russell. 
2. Ich steh' mit einem Fuss im Grabe, BWV 156: Sinfonia/Arioso by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1729; Leipzig, Germany 
Notes: Arranger: David Russell. 
3. Fantasia for Lute in C minor by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Germany 
4. Sonata for Lute no 5 in G major: Prelude by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
5. Sonata for Lute no 19 in F major: Allemande by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
6. Courante Royale for Lute, S 31 by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
7. Tombeau sur la mort de Monsieur Comte de Logy by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
8. Sonata for Lute no 22 in G major: Allegro by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
9. Pastorale in F major, BWV 590: 3rd movement, Adagio by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1710; Weimar, Germany 
10. Suite for Lute in D major "La prise de Gaeta" by Jacques de Saint-Luc
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
11. Pièces de clavecin, Book 1: Ordre 1 in G minor/G major - Les Silvains by François Couperin
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1713; Paris, France 
Notes: Arranger: David Russell. 
12. Pièces de clavecin, Book 4: Ordre 22 in D major/D minor - Les tours de passe-passe by François Couperin
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1730; Paris, France 
Notes: Arranger: David Russell. 
13. Pièces de clavecin, Book 2: Ordre 6 in B flat major - Les baricades mistérieuses by François Couperin
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1717; Paris, France 
Notes: Arranger: David Russell. 
14. Suite for Orchestra no 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Air by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Notes: Arranger: David Russell. 

Featured Sound Samples

Pièces de clavecin, Book 2 (Couperin): Ordre 6 in B flat major -
No 5 "Les baricades mistérieuses"
Partita in A minor, BWV 1013 (Bach): IV. Bourrée anglaise
Sonata for Lute no 22 in G major (Weiss): Allegro

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