Mikhail Polupayenko: Fantasia on Zaporozhye Themes
for Guitar,

Vol. 7

4 pp. $5.95. Presser Order number 494-02800  (PWYS-82)

polupayenko.jpgThe present work was published by the important Moscow publisher P. Jurgenson in 1898. The title page of the album in which it was included reads as follows: Албом / для / гитаристовъ / на 6ти или на 9ти струнной гитары / сочинение / V/ М. Полупаенко. [Album for guitarists on the 6- or 9-string guitar, composed by M. Polupayenko]. The work itself is titled: „Думы и веселье запорожца.“ Фантазия. [Ballads and merriments of the Zaporozhets, A Fantasia]. The Zaporozhets referred to in the title is a Cossack soldier from the town of Zaporozhye in the Ukraine, a place that still today honors the military traditions of the Cossacks. As such, this music, light-hearted and aiming at a facile display of virtuosity, is a typical salon rendition of themes that purport to be based on Cossack folk melodies and dances. Indeed, this particular work was used to great acclaim by Boris Perott in his concerts in Russia in 1910, before he moved to England and achieved considerable fame as the president of the London Philharmonic Society of Guitarists and first guitar teacher of Julian Bream. As stated in the title, the work can be played on either the standard six-string guitar, or on a guitar equipped with three additional basses tuned to low D’, C’ and B’.

Mikhail Vassilyevich Polupayenko was born in Kharkov in 1848 and died in Bakhmut (today known as Artyomovsk in the Donetsk region of the Ukraine) in 1902. He graduated as a medical doctor from the St. Vladimir university in 1873. Already during his student years he took guitar lessons from a Kharkov guitar teacher named Biryukov, and later studied with the well-known guitar virtuoso Marek Sokolovski. Polupayenko began his concert career as a guitarist already in the 1870s. During the 1890s he established a close relationship with the St. Petersburg Circle of Guitarists and Mandolinists, and particularly with the leader of that group, the Austrian born Johann Decker-Schenk, with whom he played annual concert tours in St. Petersburg, Voronezh, Kharkov, Yuzovka (an earlier name of the city of Donetsk, named after the Welsh businessman John Hughes who established it in 1868) and neighboring cities. Mikhail Polupayenko was one of the few Russian-Ukrainian guitarists who played both the six- and the seven-string guitars. He published a fair number of works for both instruments.  


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