Moreno TORROBA (1891–1982)
Sonatina (1965): (1. Allegretto
[3:50]; 2. Andante [3:40]; 3. Allegro
4. Burgalesa (1928) [2:35]
Suite Castellana (1926): (5. Fandanguillo
[2:18]; 6. Arada [2:59]; 7. Danza
[2:26]; 8. Madroños (1954)
Castillos de España: (9. Alcázar
de Segovia [2:53]; 10. Alba de
Tomes [1:16]; 11. Montemayor
[1:28]; 12. Zafra [2:03]; 13. Manzanares
del Real [1:08]; 14. Sigüenza
[1:47]; 15. Simancas [1:32]; 16.
Turégano [2:20]; 17. Torija
[2:45]; 18. Calatrava [2:51]; 19.
Redaba [1:43]; 20. Alcañiz
[1:30]; 21. Javier [2:46]; 22.
Olite [2:11]; 23. Nocturno (1926)
Aires de la Mancha: (24. Jeringonza
[1:32]; 25. Ya llega el Invierno
[1:44]; 26. Copilla [0:48]; 27.
La Pastora [1:57]; 28. Seguidilla
David Russell (guitar)
rec. Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts,
11-13 February 1996.
TELARC CD-80451 [65:57]
More or less simultaneously
with the first instalment in a Naxos
Torroba series [review]
I have been listening to this more than
ten-year-old recital, recently reissued.
Only one composition is common to both
discs, but this is the longest: Castillos
de España. There at once
I register an important difference in
approach. Ana Vidovic on Naxos is lyrical,
almost dreamy, seeing the old castles
as through a haze, while David Russell
makes his observations on a clear day,
observing the life and the action. He
is an eager and close participant; Ana
Vidovic is an onlooker from a distance.
Of course Russell was an experienced
musician even ten years ago and having
spent considerable time in Spain he
has firsthand knowledge of the country,
its history and traditions. One shouldn’t
make too heavy weather of this; Russell
is a remarkable player on all counts.
This disc illustrates clearly why he
is one of the most respected of today’s
guitarists. It is not just a question
of technique – all the players on the
international circuit are tremendously
accomplished – but there is a wholeheartedness
about his playing that is so infectious
and invigorating that one can do little
but take off one’s sombrero and shout
Timewise the disc spans
the greater part of Torroba’s composing
for the guitar. The Nocturno
was one of his first pieces for Segovia
in 1926. The same year he created the
Suite Castellana, which is named
after the old Spanish kingdom that ruled
central and northern Spain. It is based
on traditional music from the area.
Burgalesa, from two years later
was a tribute to the city of Burgos
and Madroños (1954) is
the name of a mountain in the district
from 1965 is an exquisite composition
and ranks with Torroba’s best. Finally
in the five short, sharply contrasting
pieces that comprise Aires de la
Mancha, we are in the region of
"The Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance".
In all these works
Russell’s playing is crystal clear,
his zest and rhythmic acuity second
to none. Add to this his beautiful tone
and sensitive lyrical playing. Telarc’s
fame as a technical high-end company
rests mainly on spectacular orchestral
and choral recordings but they can also
reproduce the intimate surroundings
of a sole guitar. This means that for
anyone who wants a cross-section of
Torroba’s music for guitar in modern
sound, this is a clear first recommendation.
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