CD: SONIDOS LATINOS – Guitarist, David Russell

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Guitarist David Russell’s latest recording with Telarc, SONIDOS LATINOS, features the compositions of Latin American masters of the guitar. Russell brings his exquisite technique and crystalline musicality to twenty-three selections that include classic songs, folk melodies and dances. His impeccable style and passion for perfection, together with his sense of romance and story-telling, are evidenced throughout this CD beautifully engineered by Thomas Knab. Among the most-favored tracks are the haunting “Confesión” by Augustín Barrios Mangoré, the lilting reverie of “Estrellita” by Manuel Maria Ponce, along with the composer’s gently nostalgic Tres Canciones Populares Mexicanas. Other outstanding numbers that settle deep into the heart include Choro No. 2 and Valsa No. 3 by Armando Neves and the Barcarolle of Jorge Morel.

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The guitar is the soul of Spanish music, and it was inevitably brought to the New World by the Spanish conquistadors and colonists beginning in the 16th century. The instrument became an integral part of musical life in Latin America, and is the medium through which some of the region’s finest composers have expressed their most characteristic musical thoughts. This Telarc recital by David Russell presents the works of four Latin American masters of the guitar.

One of the great pioneers of classical guitar, Augustín Barrios Mangoré was one of the first Latin American guitarists to appear successfully in Europe and one of the first guitarists to record. Honing his chops by transcribing works by Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin, Mangoré is thought to have written roughly 300 works for guitar. Featured on this recording is Mangoré’s Maxixe which is based on the Brazilian dance that became popular in Rio de Janeiro in the 1870s, the repeating-note Cancíon de la Hilandera, Aire de Zamba which is a concert realization of the Argentine dance, the romanza Confesion and the charming waltz, Tu Imagen.

From Argentina to Mexico, Manuel María Ponce was one of the most distinguished and influential figures in Mexican music. As a gifted child, he began composition before the age of ten and was appointed chief organist in his hometown of Aguascalientes at the age of fifteen. Like so many others, Ponce’s chief inspiration was Andrés Segovia and when the two met in 1923, the repertoire for guitar was still very limited. He arranged Tres Cancíones Populares Mexicanas from 1925-26 for Segovia. Violinist Jascha Heifetz later did an arrangement of the last work in the piece, Estrellita, which became so popular it was included in the 1939 Goldwyn film, They Shall Have Music.

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DAVID RUSSELL, Guitarist

Argentine-American guitarist and composer Jorge Morel showcases his affection for David Russell in two works that were written with the guitarist in mind. Recuerdos del Caribe is filled with the flavors and rhythms of the West Indies and particularly showcases Russell’s handiwork. Mangoré is dedicated to the guitarist as a tribute to the late Augustín Barrios Mangoré who shaped both of these guitarist’s lives. The other Morel works featured are the Latin scherzo, Jugueteando; Pampero which shares its title with the stormy conditions that accompany a cold front moving across the plains, the “Pampas,” of Argentina and Uruguay; and the Barcarole, a traditional song of the Venetian gondoliers.

Even though his career was focused on tango, Héctor Ayala still had a thorough understanding of other Latin American musical styles, as demonstrated by his Serie Americana which closes Russell’s sublime disc of Sondios Latinos, and comprises pieces representative of six South American countries.

David Russell spends his time touring the world, appearing regularly at prestigious halls in main cities, such as New York, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Madrid, Toronto or Rome. Concert-goers everywhere are in awe of Mr. Russell’s musical genius and inspired by his captivating stage presence. His love of his craft resonates through his flawless and seemingly effortless performance. The attention to detail and provocative lyrical phrasing suggest an innate understanding of what each individual composer was working to achieve, bringing to each piece a sense of adventure.

In May 2005 he received a homage from the music conservatory of Vigo, culminating with the opening of the new Auditorium, to which they gave the name “Auditorio David Russell”. Since 1995 David Russell has an exclusive recording contract with Telarc International, with whom he has recorded twelve CDs up to now, among them Aire Latino, which received a Grammy in 2005.

Click on the photos to order these and other recordings by David Russell:

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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