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  • chrisdumigan

David Russell : Something Unique - Vinyl

AGUADO: Allegro and Polonesa : CASTELNUOVO –TEDESCO : Cappricio Diabolico: HAUG: Prelude Tiento and Toccata: SOJO: Five Pieces from Venezuela.


Overture Records OR 1001

Of the 27 releases David Russell has on his website, this is the second, released on vinyl in 1979, and as I recently acquired a copy I took it upon myself to review it.

The Aguado, is not as well-known as it should be, which is probably true of a lot of Aguado pieces when compared to Sor. This pairing is interesting and involving, and certainly very well written and played, and deserves to be heard more. The Polonesa in particular really takes off and Russell absolutely keeps the momentum up without a moment’s pause, and it’s all the better for it. The famous Castelnuovo – Tedesco piece is a much darker recording than the opening Aguado, but the musicianship is top-class, and as anyone who has played this piece knows, it is not an easy option by any means, and as the composer could not play the guitar, his musical ideas often do not fall totally naturally onto our instrument, and yet when one can actually play it as written, it sounds wonderful, as it does here. Hans Haug’s trilogy, written in September 1961 is another rarely played composition. The style is somewhat elusive at first, but never atonal or ultra- a result, the more you put into his pieces, the surprising amount you get back from your instrument, and this is particularly true with these three pieces. The Tiento is particularly emotional and there is lots of space for the guitarist to put his own responses to it. The Toccata begins with chords that don’t normally go together before the speed of the Toccata takes over and the fingers really have to fly. Again this is a very musical set of pieces that don’t receive much performing. The Five Venezuelan pieces from Sojo are perhaps the most well – known from this recital, and definitely the most immediate, with beautiful melodies and warm harmonies, and finish this set of recordings off very well indeed.

As this set is now 41` years old, and as far as I can tell has never made it onto CD, I think that such a wonderful set of performance by one of our very best world ranking players , that it is about time that someone did produce this on CD, as it deserves it .

Chris Dumigan

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