David Russell

Air on a G String

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AllMusic Review by

Guitarist David Russell just keeps getting better and better. He was already a fully formed virtuoso with a clear, warm tone and an effortless technique when he made his major-label debut on Telarc in 1995. And as this 2008 disc called Air on a G String shows, Russell has deepened and mellowed as he's matured. Featuring four works by Johann Sebastian Bach, four by François Couperin, six by Sylvius Leopold Weiss, and an eight-movement suite by Jacques de Saint-Luc, Russell's choice of repertoire is balanced between the well known and unfamiliar, and it is all the more interesting because of it. With his digital independence and his uncanny ability to sustain a legato line on a plucked instrument, Russell's technique remains impeccable. But as he has aged, his interpretations have become more musical and less technical. Russell's Bach -- a probing Partita in A minor, BWV 1013; a sublime Adagio/Arioso from Cantata No. 156; a shadowy Pastorale in F major, BWV 590; and a blissful Air from the Suite in D major, BWV 1068 -- sounds sympathetic not just to the music's supreme intellect but to its soulful spirituality. Russell's selections by Weiss and the Suite by Saint-Luc are graciously engaging, but better yet are his three selections from Couperin -- especially his otherworldly Les Barricades Mistérieuses, which seems to float out of the strings of the guitar. Captured in clear, immediate digital sound by producers Elaine Martone and Maria Jesus Rodriguez, this disc will please technophiles as well as Russell's fans.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Partita for solo flute in A minor, BWV 1013
1 03:47
2 02:31
3 03:18
4 01:47
Cantata No. 156, "Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe," BWV 156 (BC A38)
5 02:11
6 02:19
Sonata for lute in G minor (Dresden MS No. 29; London MS No. 19), SC 25
7 01:18
Sonata for lute in F major (London MS No. 14), SC 19
8 03:05
Work(s)
9 02:25
10 05:19
Sonata for lute in G major (London MS No. 16), SC 22
11 03:32
Pastorale for organ in F major, BWV 590 (BC J81)
12 03:00
Suite for lute in D major ("La prise de Gaeta")
13 02:18
14 01:08
15 02:15
16 01:03
17 00:50
18 01:02
19 00:51
20 03:35
21 04:15
22 02:48
23 03:07
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068
24 04:23
blue highlight denotes track pick