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  • David Russell Plays Bach
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David Russell Plays Bach

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Audio CD, January 28, 2003
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David Russell Plays Bach + Grandeur of the Baroque + David Russell Plays Baroque Music
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 28, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B00007J4US
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,228 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prelude
2. Fuegue
3. Allegro
4. Chorale Prelude, 'Wachet Auf, Ruft Uns Die Stimme' BWV 645
5. Allemande
6. Courante
7. Sarabande
8. Gigue
9. Chaconne
10. Preludio
11. Loure
12. Gavotte En Rondeau
13. Menuets I And II
14. Bourree
15. Gigue
16. Chorale Prelude 'Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring'

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

David Russell is a great guitarist, and this CD handsomely showcases his affinity for Bach. Without leaning toward Romanticism, Russell gets to the emotional content of the pieces, lingering nicely, for example, on the warmth of the lengthy Chaconne from the Partita No. 2. It would be easy to get bored with the sound of a solo guitar after an hour, but Russell won't permit it--sometimes his tone glistens, sometimes it caresses, always it keeps our attention. The opening prelude to the Lute Suite is a fast, bright movement, and while some will prefer it in Bach's own reuse as the opening of his Cantata No. 29, complete with trumpets and drums, this delicately filigreed version allows us to hear every note. And the mellow chorale prelude, "Jesu, joy of man's desiring," which closes the CD, has rarely sounded more beautiful. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

Courante. played really fast and exciting.
rosie Sarrington
Fantastic transcriptions, played both perfectly (technically) and with a musical sensibility that... well, is amazing.
Ellen Kindl
This is the best present for classical music listeners and Bach lovers.
A. Rodriguez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Levitt - classical music buff on December 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I've rarely read so many conflicting reviews and reactions to a CD.

As a classical guitarist for many years (over 30), done graduate work in music, and listened to a lot of musicians (most non-guitarists), I can say that 1. everyone is entitled to his/her opinion and 2. I trust my experience and what I hear.

What I hear is a guitarist not only with a superb technique but phrasing that "breathes", that "dances." I've heard better Chaconnes on the guitar, violin and piano but, for me, David Russell overall is a very special guitarist. It is hard to find anyone, on any instrument, with his combination of technique and "feeling;" nobody can sustain that all the time.

The highlights, for me, of the CD are the transcribed Partita no. 2 and the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro. The transcriptions of the Bach Chorales - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and Wachet Auf - are good.

Suffice it to say that this was my first time hearing David Russell. That he impressed me so much I went out and bought his Baroque album (excellent), his Barrios album (excellent), and his

Aire Latino album (am not sure what I think of it).

As a friend recently reminded me, with playing of this level, it is a matter of taste. For Bach on the guitar, I suggest Barrueco's recording of the Unaccompanied Sonatas; John Williams's CD of the Lute Suites; Sharon Isbin's CD of the Lute Suites; Segovia's Bach (in general); and Nathan Milstein and Henryk Szeryng's recordings of the Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin (which contain the Partita no. 2 on David's recording). For great Bach playing on the piano, try Rosalyn Tureck, Angela Hewitt and Martha Argerich. And trust your ears and instincts!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steve on February 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I find it quite amazing to read about some of the critic's responses to this album. I find it just as relaxing as any other David Russell CD. I am especailly shocked by use of words such as "Sterile"!!! I mean some of you seem to have something against perfectionism! The thing is that David's technique is so clean that it brings out more attention than his heart, but that dosn't mean to say that he lacks any heart in his playing, the problem is that the only thing people like notice is his technique (cause no other guitarist has ever developed a technique like Russell)!!!
Take a look at any score for Classicall Guitar, and you will see that the notes on the pages is what should sound, not squeaks, buzzes, glissandos or nail clatter. Thats just simple respect Russel has for the composer's initial intentions.
I have heard almost all of the top class guitarists and have never found anybody who matches David's playing. Any serious guitar student NEEDS this recording!! Trust me.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Rose on January 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Like some other reviewers who rate this recording at 5 stars, I too might prefer some other performances in the Chaconne from Partita No. 2. On the other hand, Russell's playing is so extraordinary, I decided to suspend my prior preferences and attempted to hear that one movement as if for the first time. What I heard was a joyous and brilliant expression of pure freedom and mastery.

Rather than try to build to an intense sound in the climax, as one often hears (certainly from Milstein's or Grumiaux's violin), Russell seems to accept the limitations of his instrument, steps back, and seems to say, "Well, then, how CAN I bring off this beast of a piece on six plucked strings?" The answer is that instead of trying to make his superb, but limited, guitar match the decibel intensity implied by the music, he understates the whole thing, freeing up his monstrous technique, which he then applies toward the subtlest shades of tempo and dynamics, while racing toward the climactic conclusion (which anticipates the actual anti-climactic conclusion of this piece) with utter abandon. The effect is that the "missing" intensity echoes in the very deep respect Russell has for the sheer volume of notes that the music conjures. He deftly and clearly picks out the tune over that subtley sonic verbiage in a way that leaves no doubt of its intent.

I found myself urging Russell forward, but while some who play such music in an understated way leave it hanging, Russell somehow cleans up the loose ends, ties the knot, and truely brings it off--just so.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By rosie Sarrington on February 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Mainly in response to the criticism. I honestly feel this is one of David Russells finest recordings to date. I think in this cd that he really allows the quality of the music to shine through. I did not like the previous baroque record of Loilett and others as some of those pieces were a little dull. To me his first Baroque recording is still one of my all time favourites the way he plays and transcribes the opening movement of the Handel suite has never been done before. What comes over most in Russells playing is his humanity and his humility. He says that when he makes a transcription he goes back to the original even if he has previously transcribed it before. He doesn't even trust himself. When I first got David Russell plays Bach home I was nervous to play it because it was a recording that I had waited years to hear and was fearful of disappointment.
1 The prelude. He takes a liberal approach to the tempo here almost like a cellist would play it. A convincing version.
2 Fuge. Here is where he really begins to shine. very strict tempo and the voices really start to sing one of the finest versions.
3 Allegro fast scales a arpegios are where Russells technique allows him to really express himself freely. He is able to make connections within the piece that others would struggle to find.
4. Ok this is really famous stuff but Russell makes a really beautiful sound especially in the higher register that I found myself whistling this all day.
5 Allemande. The depth of sound and the way he really picks out the base notes. This is a stunning version. I usually hate when people add base notes to Bach as they rarely add to the music.
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