ISAAC ALBENIZ: Spanish Music for Classical Guitar [TrackList below] – David Russell, guitar – Telarc 37212, 61:01 *****:
David Russell is back with his sixteenth album for Telarc—hard to believe the relationship has stretched for that many albums already. Russell is of course among the who’s who of classical guitarists, a Royal Academy of Music grad who garnered a Grammy award in 2005, and is one of the foremost exponents of the guitar currently playing. Isaac Albeniz is the Spanish Catalan pianist and composer who’s performing career essentially began at age four, and continued his whole life, culminating in very successful tours to the United States and all over Europe. Virtually all of the music found on this disc was not composed for the guitar, but for the piano, though hearing these arrangements it is difficult to conceive of them in any other form, especially when played with such authority and panache as David Russell does.
I can easily see this becoming the leading all-Albeniz guitar album ever recorded. Russell has a spectacular sound, with incredible dynamic variance and a tone that is second to none, capable of the most seductive softs and castle-storming fortes. The new management/ownership of Telarc is beginning to show, as the sound has been recorded at a much higher level than what we are used to, but they capture the intimacy and strength of Russell’s playing to perfection—after fifteen other albums they certainly have it down, and this one sounds great. Don’t hesitate.
1. Torre Bermeja 2. Granada 3. Zambra Granadina 4. Cádiz 5. Preludio 6. Rumores de la Caleta 7. Córdoba 8. Cataluña 9. Capricho Catalán 10. Cuba 11. Tango 12. Pavana 13. Zorzico 14. Minueto a Sylvia 15. Zambra-Capricho
— Steven Ritter