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Ernest Shand : Guitar Music from Late Victorian England – Collected Works :Classical Gtr Study Edtns

100 pieces (complete works, as it stands at the moment)

Ernest Shand; compiled and edited by Stanley Yates

Classical Guitar Study Editions : 303 pages

I start off the reviews for this New Year of 2023, with what is one of the most phenomenal books of music I have ever come across, which not only has a hundred pieces but also what amounts to a separate book of the history of the man amounting to an Introduction, a biography, with photos, The Guitar in England, contemporary to Shand, , and after Shand, his influence beyond England, his musical style, his guitar style, and his playing techniques, which all amount to 45 pages at the beginning. Then at the end we find Articles and Letter about Shand, Excerpts of letters to Vahdah Olcott Bickford, the Sources of Shand’s music, his publishers, then finally the dating of his works, concluding with what amounts at the moment to his Catalogue of works that Stan Yates has provided us here with, in Opus |No. order, with, as you might imagine, an awful lot of Opuses without any music, at the moment! This amounts to a further 31 pages. So you can see instantly that with 76 pages of writing, this is a very detailed and fascinating book, before we get to the actual music, which is stunning. If you are like me you may well remember the Schott publication from 1910 of Six Solos, which for decades was the only music I knew of Ernest Shand. Then Stanley produced his 23 Guitar Solos book, which was fascinating in that for the first time , I could try more pieces from Shand, which were all in his inimitable , and wonderful Victorian style. Now, after all that time, here we have the result of all Stanley’s work over the last years, and a book of 96 solos, 1 piece for guitar and piano, and 3 for voice and guitar by this composer, and a wonderfully fascinating and beautiful compilation it is in every way. For here is (what we know of at the moment) as a man’s life works, with none of them whatsoever that could be considered boring or humdrum. So I can say that if you enjoyed that ancient Schott publication of Six Solos and wondered where the rest were, and would they be any good when you found them? The answers to the questions would be ‘here’, and ‘yes, they are brilliant pieces of music’.

This is a book to buy, and then to treasure, and the only thing that could better it is if (and this appears to be a BIG if!) the missing Opuses of his music could be found and integrated into another even larger book! Here’s hoping!

Chris Dumigan

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