David Russell

Isaac Albéniz: Spanish Music for Classical Guitar

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The short pieces on this album were originally composed for piano, but they're so full of motifs rooted in the traditions from which modern Spanish guitar music developed that transferring them to the guitar has never been much of a stretch. Scots-Spanish guitarist David Russell doesn't venture far beyond the set of established Albéniz favorites here, but there are several things to recommend this album. Russell's effortlessly liquid virtuosity and his rather plain approach to rhythm combine to set off the genuinely adventurous quality of Albéniz's music; these aren't especially atmospheric performances, but the clarity of each piece gradually draws the listener in deeper. The real star, as often with the Telarc label, is the sound. Working in a performing arts center in the Baltimore suburb of Owings Mills, MA, engineer Thomas Knab gets a big, ringing sound out of Russell's Matthias Dammann guitar while keeping the extraneous noise in the background. The result here is a rich, sensuous, straightforward reading of Albéniz's Spanish favorites that will get any audience's attention.

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