And perhaps the most chilling of all is “this piece was written for me.” What happens next is rarely something you want to hear again.
But guitarist David Russell proved that such an introduction is not always a death sentence for an audience in his performance at the Kimbell Art Museum’s Piano Pavilion on Thursday. “Landmarks,” a three-movement work by San Antonio-based composer Matthew Dunne, was one of the real standouts in an excellent program of works by some of the greats of the classical guitar repertoire.
Dunne’s piece, which Russell just debuted in February, opened with “Camilliola,” a gentle and atmospheric movement with just a hint of modernism. The following “Cancion” was a near lullaby in the Spanish style that nicely lived up to its name. And utterly charming was the closing “Reel Variations.” Although he grew up on the Spanish island of Minorca, Russell is a native Scot. So Dunne composed the movement with Scottish dances in mind. It was a kilt-clad delight from start to finish, and put an exclamation point on its proud prancing with a fast and flashy ending. If Russell is looking for a signature work, Dunne has given him an excellent candidate with this 16-minute composition.