Release Date: September 27, 2019
Catalog #: RR8019
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Solo Instrumental
Guitar

Amor Fati

David William Ross guitar

David William Ross, though considered a classical and jazz guitarist, consistently transcends both genres. He works extensively in collaboration with other accomplished artists, while also being a composer with an impressive library of works that accompany dance and performance art. Ross brings this multifaceted background to the fore in Ravello Records’ AMOR FATI.

Ross opens AMOR FATI with a warm, calming, and familiar folk lullaby: Akira Nakada’s A Song of Early Spring, arranged by Toru Takemitsu. Following is an interpretation of Astor Piazzolla’s Las Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons), a quintet arranged for guitar by Sergio Assad. Beginning with an enigmatic intro, Ross walks listeners through this four-movement story to its peaceful, happy ending. Takemitsu is the composer of the following piece, Equinox, which opens immediately on a dissonant chord, paving the way for a Latin work with a more experimental scaffold.

Next is New Hampshire composer Frank Wallace’s Cyrcles in six movements. The first is entirely ethereal but followed by a fast-moving arpeggiated and percussive territorial second movement and a harp-like third movement. The final movement is a collection of echoes and minor seconds. It is hurried and entirely purposeful. The culminating piece is Leo Brouwer’s Un Dia de Noviembre. In Ross’ own words: “Whenever I play this piece, I find the haunting, repeating melody truly evokes the sense of introspection one finds in November, before the winter sets in and all is asleep and at peace.”

This album feels very familiar, yet is refreshing to hear. Ross’ guitar is one with a rich, buttery timbre surely to ease any listener’s mind. With its expressive, modernist elements, AMOR FATI is an all-around pleasure to listen to.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 A Song of Early Spring (Arr. T. Takemitsu for Solo Guitar) Akira Nakada, arr. Toru Takemitsu David William Ross, guitar 5:19
02 Las Estaciones Porteñas (Arr. S. Assad for Solo Guitar): No. 1, Primavera Porteña Astor Piazzolla, arr. Sergio Assad David William Ross, guitar 5:04
03 Las Estaciones Porteñas (Arr. S. Assad for Solo Guitar): No. 2, Verano Porteño Astor Piazzolla, arr. Sergio Assad David William Ross, guitar 3:55
04 Las Estaciones Porteñas (Arr. S. Assad for Solo Guitar): No. 3, Otoño Porteño Astor Piazzolla, arr. Sergio Assad David William Ross, guitar 5:17
05 Las Estaciones Porteñas (Arr. S. Assad for Solo Guitar): No. 4, Invierna Porteño Astor Piazzolla, arr. Sergio Assad David William Ross, guitar 7:24
06 Equinox Toru Takemitsu David William Ross, guitar 7:08
07 Sonata No. 3, Op. 94 "Cyrcles": I. Solstice I Frank Wallace David William Ross, guitar 3:33
08 Sonata No. 3, Op. 94 "Cyrcles": II. The Light Frank Wallace David William Ross, guitar 3:26
09 Sonata No. 3, Op. 94 "Cyrcles": III. Darkness Falling Frank Wallace David William Ross, guitar 5:25
10 Sonata No. 3, Op. 94 "Cyrcles": IV. Solstice II Frank Wallace David William Ross, guitar 2:53
11 Sonata No. 3, Op. 94 "Cyrcles": V. The Great Sleep - Ko's Way Frank Wallace David William Ross, guitar 6:20
12 Sonata No. 3, Op. 94 "Cyrcles": VI. First Truth Frank Wallace David William Ross, guitar 4:01
13 Un Día de Noviembre Leo Brouwer David William Ross, guitar 5:06

David William Ross guitar
Recorded March 2019 in Keene NH
Engineered, produced, edited & mixed by David William Ross

https://www.davidwilliamross.com

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Marina Altschiller

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Levi Brown

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

David William Ross

Composer

David William Ross is a versatile musician with an embracing approach. He regularly performs classical repertoire but also works in jazz and other improvisatory styles. An advocate of new music, he has worked closely with composers and has recorded and premiered many works by composers from all over the world. Ross frequently collaborates with dancers, choreographers, and multimedia artists in creating original works. A producer and engineer, he has recorded and produced many projects, including his own.

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Notes

Nature’s patterns, cycles, circles, birth and death, motion and stillness, the coming and going of light and dark, suffering and happiness. Human existence is awash in the inevitable and in change, from moment to moment engrossed in the passage of time. The individual grasps little of the whole and is a transient witness to only a fragment of something much larger. Amor fati, acceptance, the ability to say yes to life. Not to tolerate, but to love and to embrace all of nature’s patterns, large and small. The Stoic attitude that allows one to look upon Nietzche’s eternal recurrence with reverence and awe, to release the paralyzing horror and to unburden the weight of the unknown, of cycles and circles and light and dark, to affirm life, saying yes, never have I heard anything more divine.

This album offers homage to change and cycles and the patterns that contextualize our lives. Seasons bring rebirth, renewal and life as well as endings, solitude and death. The works heard here contain all of it and much more.

– David William Ross

A Song of Early Spring, a sweet and lyrical folk song by Akira Nakada. The arrangement for guitar by Takemitsu captures the rhapsodic romance of the song, simple but lush with harmony.

– David William Ross

Las Estaciones Porteñas depicts the four seasons of Buenos Aires. Originally written for Piazzolla’s own quintet, filled with complex rhythms and polyphony, this piece finds an uncertain medium in the solo guitar. However, Sergio Assad’s arrangements go beyond simple translation, constituting works of originality and compellingly imaginative writing. Piazzolla himself offered improvisational and alternate versions of his own work; no two recordings of a given piece are quite the same. Taking this ethos to heart, I have tried to find a way into the music that is easy and unhindered, to find a manner of playing and interpreting that captures a moment. Rather than striving to craft a definitive version, I have sought the unattached approach of the improviser. I have taken a few liberties with the score, by no means re-writing or re-arranging, but elaborating a harmony or deviating from a line, incorporating elements that have grown from my relationship with the music. I hope the arranger finds himself sympathetic to these choices.

– David William Ross

Equinox: Takemitsu’s musical language has a depth and completeness that is rare. It would seem the title has more do to with musical symmetry than the Earth’s orbit but the evocation was too good to resist. I have placed this work, naturally, dividing the program into equal halves. I’m not sure if this music elicits feelings of change or of stasis, in fact I’m not sure I can easily speak the emotions it stirs, it seems to evaporate just as it appeared, a profound type of musical ephemera unique to Takemitsu.

– David William Ross

Cyrcles by Frank Wallace is a substantial piece for solo guitar. It is always an honor and a joy to work closely with composers. I have known this particular composer for years and am grateful to have played a role in bringing this piece of music into the world. Cyrcles conveys Wallace’s musical spirit well, strong and gestural but balanced with lyrical passages and episodes of rich melodic writing. His aesthetic is immediately modern but also comes from tradition, a music that gives precedence to the musical contour and to the breath, a sense of strong and weak, qualities of the lute and early music. Cyrcles is cyclical in form, motivic ideas and melodic fragments recur from movement to movement. These motifs carry the names of people the composer had in mind while writing, their names translated into musical notes, including close friends, a doctor and my own name. But, the dominant theme is that of Ko, one of the composer’s students, lost to suicide at the age of 22. Ko’s motif translates to 5 musical steps, chromatic or diatonic depending on the musical context. The Great Sleep – Ko’s Way is a striking movement, in memoriam, relentlessly quiet and still, offering a moment of meditation on death, loss, and grief. In spite of the pain inherent in the cycles of nature, the composer iterates the positive message of his piece saying, “Cyrcles is optimistic. It embraces the sacred cycle of life and death. And it mourns the loss of youth. My youth, as a 66 year old man, but more importantly OUR youth. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Drug overdose also claims many lives of our youth. The circle is broken. Let’s wake up and be gentle with each other and our mother the Earth. Only in that gentleness is there hope to reclaim optimism and dreams of a brighter future for all species.”

– David William Ross

Un Dia de Noviembre by Leo Brouwer, is a programmatic piece written for a film of the same name. Whenever I play this piece, I find the haunting, repeating melody truly evokes the sense of introspection one finds in November, before the winter sets in and all is asleep and at peace, a perfect compliment to the springtime opening of this album.

– David William Ross