Ernest Shand

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Ernest Shand (31 January 1868 – 28 November 1924) was an English performer and composer for the classical guitar, and a music-hall singer and actor.


Born as Ernest William Watson in Hull, Yorkshire, Shand was born into a musical family, his mother having been a piano teacher, his father a music dealer, and his brother an actor.[1] He began his musical education on the violin. He came to the guitar when he discovered a composition for guitar by the Spanish composer Dionysio Aguado. Viewing it as a challenge, he bought a guitar and practised until he could play it.[2] He then became a pupil of Madame Sidney Pratten (1821–1895) who provided him with scores and became the first publisher of his compositions. These apparently impressed her so much that by 1888 she apparently had nothing more to teach him, and that his pieces were superior to hers.[3] Before the age of 30, Shand had already written more than 150 pieces for solo guitar, a guitar concerto (the first from the British Isles) and a tutor (1896). In the United Kingdom, his playing remained unsurpassed until the emergence of Julian Bream in the late 1940s.[4]

Despite his success as a composer and performer, the guitar was a relatively small niche in England. Shand made his living mainly from acting in music halls, and only late in life was persuaded by his wife and friends to take up the guitar professionally. Even then he had to return to acting after he had lost money in a studio and advertising business.[5] As an actor, he travelled as far as Australia, where he also gave guitar recitals. Shand moved to London in 1896, where he was elected to the Senate of the London Guild of Violinists and gave a well-received series of performances at the Royal College of Music. During one of his tours, he was apparently attacked by an aggrieved Russian and sustained severe injuries that affected him for the rest of his life.[6]

Shand published his last music around 1910, after which he moved to Mosley, Birmingham. At the outbreak of World War I, he entertained British troops on the guitar. He died in Birmingham.


As a composer, Shand was able to sustain the growth of the classical guitar against the popularity of large orchestras by writing music that brought guitar composition to a more modern approach. Shand produced a wide range of music including salon pieces, dances, variations, fantasias, songs, chamber music, piano pieces, transcriptions and pedagogical works. "All of these compositions are filled with unbridled individualism; lyrical pieces that are peppered with the suggestion of song." (Ophee, 1999)[7]

Selected compositions[edit]

Guitar solo

  • March of the Pixies op. 16 (Bournemouth: Barnes & Mullins, 1896)
  • Danse capriccio op. 28
  • 1er Air varié op. 31 (London: Boosey & Co., 1893)
  • Mazurka op. 36 (London: Schott, 1895)
  • Mélodie. Nocturne op. 51 (London: Schott, 1895)
  • Souvenir (A Memory) op. 53 (London: Schott, 1897)
  • 3 Pièces faciles op. 56; includes 1. Inquiétude (Sorrow), 2. Espérance (Hope), 3. Joie (Joy) (London: Schott, 1895)
  • Songe d'amour op. 57 (London: Schott, 1896)
  • Calme du soir (Rest at Eventide) et Berceuse (Lullaby) op. 58 (London: Schott, 1896)
  • Fantaisie irlandaise op. 59 (London: Schott, 1897)
  • Andante espressivo op. 60 (Bournemouth: Barnes & Mullins, 1896)
  • Andante Caprice op. 65 (London: Schott, 1896)
  • Tsigane op. 66 (Bournemouth: Barnes & Mullins, 1896)
  • Gavotte et Méditation op. 69 (London: Schott, 1896)
  • Sorrow and Song op. 70
  • Scène de Ballet op. 72 (Bournemouth: Barnes & Mullins, 1896)
  • The Gnomes op. 77
  • Andante religioso op. 87
  • Danse antique op. 88
  • Funeral March op. 89
  • Songes d'été op. 95 (London: Schott, 1897)
  • Hungarian Dance op. 96
  • Morceau lyrique no. 1 op. 97 (London: Schott, 1897)
  • Cradle Song op. 99
  • Morceau lyrique no. 2 op. 104
  • Impromptu op. 108
  • Marche triomphale op. 109
  • Morceau lyrique no. 3 op. 111
  • Vain regrets. Mélodie op. 112 (London: Schott, 1897)
  • A Forgotten Strain op. 116
  • Auf Wiedersehn op. 117
  • Phyllis. Gavotte op. 200 (London: Schott, c.1912)
  • Légende op. 201 (London: Schott, c.1912)
  • Au Coin de feu. Souvenir op. 202
  • Varsovie. Mazurka op. 204
  • La Danse des nymphes. Petit morceau op. 205
  • Introduction et chanson op. 220

Chamber music

  • Premier Concerto op. 48, for guitar and string quartet or piano
  • L'Absence. Mélodie op. 122, for mandoline and piano (London: Schott, 1898)
  • Danse bacchique op. 125, for mandoline and piano (London: Schott, 1898)
  • A Dream of Love op. 127, for mandoline and piano (Bournemouth: Barnes & Mullins, 1896)


  • Gondoliera, with accompaniments for banjo, guitar or piano (Bournemouth: Barnes & Mullins, 1896)
  • Consequences (Roland Carse), with piano (London: Hopwood & Crew, 1900)
  • Euclid (C.H. Taylor), with piano (London: Price & Reynolds, 1902)
  • Little Mary (C.H. Bovill), with piano (London: E. Ascherberg & Co., 1903)
  • Why Does a Lady? (George Arthurs), with piano (London: Shapiro, von Tilzer Music Co., 1907)
  • Where Blighty Is. Humorous song (Fred Austin), with piano (London: Reynolds & Co., c.1918)


  • Improved Method for the Guitar op. 100 (Bournemouth: Barnes & Mullins, 1896)


  • Ours, I think?. Valse, for piano (London: Metzler & Co., c.1912)

Modern editions[edit]


  • Guitar Masterpieces, performed by Manuel Gayol, on: Kapp KC-9052-S, LP (1960). Contains: Prélude et Impromptu.
  • Ernest Shand. Guitar Music and Songs, performed by Peter Jermer (guitar) and Yoshiko Nitta (soprano), on: Outsider CD 0122, CD (1996). Contains: (solo pieces) Prélude et Impromptu, Gavotte rococo, Andante religioso, Légende, A Forgotten Strain, Mazurka russe, Chanson, Valse légère, Varsovie mazurka, A Fragment, Phyllis Gavotte, Il Pensieroso, Au Coin du feu (Fireside Musings), Songe d'amour, Cradle Song, Auf Wiedersehn; (songs) Gondoliera, The Voice of Love.
  • The Romantic Guitar, performed by Gerald Garcia, on: Beautiful Jo Records BEJO-CD 17, CD (1997). Contains: Chanson, Gavotte rococo, Légende, Prélude et Impromptu, Souvenir; also works by Francisco Tárrega, Alberto Obregon, Napoleon Coste, Sidney Pratten, and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (arr. Garcia).
  • Kazuhito Yamashita Plays His Favorites, 2, on: Crown CRCC-29, CD (1999). Contains: Vain regrets op. 112.


  • Stewart W. Button: The Guitar in England 1800–1924 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1989); i.e. Ph.D. dissertation of University of Surrey, 1984.
  • Stewart W. Button: "Ernest Shand: An Introduction to his Life and Music", in: Guitar Review no. 106, Summer 1996, p. 2–8.
  • Stanley Yates: "Preface", in his edition Ernest Shand: 23 Guitar Solos from Victorian England (Pacific, Missouri: Mel Bay, 2000), p. 3–7.


  1. ^ Stanley Yates, preface to his edition of 23 Guitar Solos ... (2000); see 'Modern editions', p. 3.
  2. ^ Liner notes to CD Ernest Shand. Guitar Music and Songs (1996), see 'Recordings'.
  3. ^ S.W. Button (1989), p. 157; see Bibliography.
  4. ^ See
  5. ^ Blog by Gerald Garcia:
  6. ^ Gerald Garcia, as above.
  7. ^ Quoted from Éditions Orphée webpage with Shand's guitar concerto, Shand concerto.