COMPOSERS: Handel & D Scarlatti,Loeillet,Vivaldi
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: David Russell Plays Baroque Music
PERFORMER: David Russell (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-80559
Glasgow-born David Russell is a classical guitarist with one of the mellowest tones that I can recall ever having heard. His programme of Baroque music consists entirely of arrangements of sonatas and a suite for a variety of other instruments, rather than pieces written for lute or theorbo. The attractive Suite by Loeillet, who was an oboist and flautist in the orchestra of the Queen’s Theatre in the Haymarket, London, is transcribed from a ‘lesson’ for solo harpsichord, one of six published in 1725; the Vivaldi Sonata in B flat (RV 46) is one of a set of six for cello and continuo, while another by Handel, in A minor, is a piece for recorder and continuo. The nine Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti are solo harpsichord pieces.
Russell’s playing is animated, expressively restrained and free from gimmickry. But, above all in the Vivaldi Sonata, I found myself longing for the composer’s chosen instrument to sustain the music’s eloquent, sometimes elegiac contours. Conversely, in the Handel piece, the guitar discovers an underlying melancholy which eludes the recorder and continuo version. Russell plays this Sonata with great refinement and expressive warmth. The Scarlatti Sonatas also sound well in the hands of a guitarist of Russell’s sensibility. An enjoyable recital.