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David Russell — “Cantigas de Santiago” (Azica Records, 2021)

David Russell — “Cantigas de Santiago” (Azica Records, 2021)

Your latest album is Cantigas de Santiago (Azica Records, 2021). How did this project come about?

Stephen Goss, the composer of Cantigas de Santiago, has been my student and friend for a long time. He already wrote me a wonderful piece called El llanto de los sueños, inspired by poems by García Lorca. “I would like to dedicate something to you and your wife”, Steve said to me a few years ago.

It turns out that María Jesús and I met for the first time in Santiago. This city has been a magical point of encounter and discovery for us. Santiago brings us together in many ways, both individually from back when we were students and later, as a couple, having walked the Camino together. Steve loved the idea of doing something related to this. He had studied the medieval cantigas from a historical point of view and initially thought of writing a work in five movements. I suggested to extend it to almost twenty minutes long. Then, considering the number seven as an important religious symbol, he ended up conceiving this work in seven movements. The Kyrie is the central movement around which the six remaining cantigas revolve. Each one has its own history. Some come from the Codex Calixtinus, others from the poems of Martín Códax who was from Vigo, where I live today with my wife. It is truly some magical music.

As for the rest of the album, Landmarks is written by my friend Matthew Dunne, composer from New York, and is an equally marvellous piece. Sérgio Assad conceived his Portraits as portraits of important figures. The three central numbers of the five that make up this work are dedicated to Sandy Bolton, a great philanthropist whom we appreciate very much because he contributed enormously to the world of the guitar and invested part of his fortune.

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