This CD delivers exactly what it says on the box, and
is played by one of the greatest guitarists of his generation.
I expect few enthusiasts of guitar music would not
have these pieces in their collections. All of them have been frequently
recorded over the years by some of the most respected guitarists, notably
Andrés Segovia, Julian Bream and John Williams, all of whom set
the standards of interpretation when playing these pieces.
The works by Malats, Tárrega and Ruiz-Pipo were
all written directly with the guitar in mind. Tárrega’s "Capricho
Arabe" which seems to evoke so perfectly in music the Moorish influences
on the Iberian peninsular and "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" the
great "tremolo study" remain two of the jewels of the
guitars repertoire. The music of Albéniz and Granados were originally
piano pieces but has probably reached a wider audience when played on
the guitar. Here David Russell has not relied on existing transcriptions,
but has done his own, and they differ from what we have become used
to. Most notable is the well known "Asturias", where Russell
has elected to drop the high octave semi-quaver notes that commence
at bar 17. These we have come to regard as the norm in most guitar versions.
I can only presume that this is purely for his own ideas of musicality.
Generally, the playing throughout is up to what we
expect from David Russell whose interpretations are most tasteful and
considered (although familiarity will always invite comparisons) and
executed with absolute ease and with a beautifully strong tone. The
recorded sound is also of the highest quality with an ambience that
suits the music well.
If you already have these pieces on CD, no matter,
this recording is well worth having simply for David Russell’s playing.