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For David - Music Written For David Russell, Guitar

Release Date: 03/24/2009 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80707   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sérgio AssadFrancis KleynjansStephen GossBenjamin Verdery,   ... 
Performer:  David Russell
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a disc of contemporary works dedicated to David Russell. They’re predominantly tonal, at times evoke Spain or South America, and presumably lie well under the hand (the composers are all excellent guitarists). The music is exciting, lyrical, wistful, and engaging. Russell plays it all splendidly. What I most enjoy, besides his technical mastery, is his musicality. His tone is always beautiful, he adroitly delineates the musical argument, even at extreme tempos, and his sense of line and form never desert him. Assad’s Aquarelle’s initial three-note motif acts as a unifying device throughout its three movements: Divertimento’s slow, mysterious introduction gives rise to energetic figurations that then segue into a lyrical South Read more American melody reminiscent of the author’s native Brazil; Valseana is a charming waltz; and Preludio e toccatina moves from rhythmic flexibility to motoric rigor. Kleynjan’s Arabesque en forme de caprice (sur la morte de Francisco Tarrega) is an homage in the French manner, a tombeau in which one composer honors a predecessor by writing in the latter’s style. It’s rhapsodic in its alternation of mood, occasionally alludes to flamenco, and ends in a state of elegiac reflection. Goss’s El llanto de los sueños (“The weeping of dreams”), inspired by Garcia Lorca’s poetry, is, like Aquarelle, a work in three parts. While overall it maintains a Spanish orientation, the second movement, Madrugada, begins with a few jazzy chords that then anchor the emerging melody. Alborada (movement three) is a trifle Debussyian in its impressionism. Although one fragment hinted at Ravel’s famous piano work (“Alborada del gracioso”), Goss’s version is relaxed and even languid, with the exception of the vigorous strumming that ends the piece. Verdery’s Now and Ever I begins plaintively, then slowly intensifies as the bass becomes more aggressive. Minor seconds are an integral part of the music’s melody and harmony; the composer equates them with “the struggle and sorrow of so many repressed peoples throughout the ages.” Be that as it may, the music does touch on both anguish and optimism. It’s written in an alternate tuning, which means the notes are shifted from their accustomed positions on the fingerboard. If this complication inconvenienced Russell, you’d never know it from his absorbing, fluent performance. Now and Ever II, the second half of Verdery’s diptych, depends for its rhythmic vitality on “the repetitive 7/8, 6/8 and 5/8 measures” (Verdery) and ends with “a hopeful tremolo theme.” Rosheger’s Waltz No. 7 combines what I heard as Russian melody—think Shostakovich sarcastically waltzing in minor mode—with a Spanish sensibility. The piece also has its sweet moments, which balance the Russian irony. The Lullaby To Wake Up With is a lovely piece, serene and tenderly melodious. Finally, Good Luck Waltz alternates between a simple, childlike theme and lively figuration; it doesn’t share the Spanish or Russian tendencies of Waltz No. 7, and is playful and happy throughout.

This is music by contemporary composers who espouse tradition in their love of melody, predilection for familiar harmony, and respect for coherence and accessibility, while retaining their individuality. Recommended for the repertoire and for Russell’s memorable performance.

-- Robert Schulslaper, FANFARE [9/2009] Read less

Works on This Recording

Aquarelle by Sérgio Assad
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988 
Arabesque en forme de caprice, Op. 99 by Francis Kleynjans
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; France 
El Llanto de los Sueños by Stephen Goss
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2007 
Now and Ever by Benjamin Verdery
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Waltz for guitar no 7 "Vals Gitana" by Philip Rosheger
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Lullaby To Wake Up With by Philip Rosheger
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Good Luck Waltz by Philip Rosheger
Performer:  David Russell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 

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