Ernest Shand, an English musician born in 1868, was the first British to achieve notoriety, on the trail of virtuoso foreigners like Giulio Regondi, Leonard Schulz, Felix Horetzky or Catherina Pelzer. He lived in a time of decline of the instrument's popularity, and didn't manage to live exclusively as a guitarist. Instead, he had a extremely successful career as a singer and actor of music-hall.
His guitar music reflects the taste of his epoch by sentimental and pungent melodies and consists mostly of "piéces de genre", waltzes, mazurkas or polkas. Despite the lightness of these pieces, he was the first British composer to compose a guitar concerto and string quartet, and author of the most extensive and consistent method for the instrument written in the British Isles at that period.
Songes d'Été (Summer Dreams) is a piece containing all the lyricism and sentimentality, characteristic of the period parlour music. Divided into two parts, it contrasts the lightness of a waltz to the nostalgia of a summer that, eventually, will vanish. Just like a summer passion.
Played on a 8 strings romantic guitar (Jan Tuláček), after J.A. Stauffer