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Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004 02:20 pm

Cool, sexy, guilty pleasures – who could ask for more?

Russel Brazzel: “My idea here. . . is to have fun.”

The Springfield Classical Guitar Society features Russel Brazzel in its second concert of the 2003-04 season. The evening, Brazzel says, promises to be "strictly Spanish,' featuring music never previously included in the artist's repertoire.

"The Serenata Andaluza [by Joaquin Malats], Variations on 'La Folia' [Fernando Sor], and the Torre Bermeja [Isaac Albeniz] are new, though I did play them at First Night this year," he says. "Nobody in Springfield has heard me play The Study, Opus 6, Nomber 11 by Sor, and I have never played the Tango [Op. 165, No. 2] by Albeniz.

"What I'm playing here is a 'guilty pleasures' concert -- the cool sexy stuff that caused me to fall in love with the guitar in the first place, with some early music thrown in."

Behind the "cool and sexy" is a second agenda. Brazzel hopes to disabuse audiences of the notion that Spanish music is not serious. The concert begins with a historical perspective, featuring compositions by early composers, then focuses on music from the second half of the 19th century.

Brazzel considers Spain to be the least-European of the European countries. "Spain was not free of the Moors [conquerors from Africa] until 1492 when King Ferdinand managed to conquer the city of Grenada. Since that time, the music has become exotic and interesting. You might be able to study history without studying music, but you cannot study music without studying history."

With the New Year comes a new instrument: an ebony-and-maple guitar made by Keith Adams of Bonnie, Illinois. "It's loud and was made to be easy to play," he says.

Brazzel's performance is a benefit concert. "All the money will be used to pay future players in our concert series," he says. "My idea here, mainly, is to have fun, while showing off the music to a larger audience and grow the organization into the future."

Russel Brazzel's concert begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at First Presbyterian Church, 321 S. Seventh St. Tickets, available at door: $12 (adults); $9 (students, seniors)

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