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Stanislaw Szczepanowski is reputed to have published a considerable number of compositions for the guitar with the English publisher Robert Cocks. They are only known by literary reference. The only composition found so far, dedicated to Giulio Regondi, is the present Introduction et Variations Brillantes Sur un Air National, the air being the Polish National Anthem.
The second piece in this volume, titled Une Larme, (A Tear), was published in the Illustrirte Zeitung in 1852, as a transcription for solo piano, from an original for cello. While we do not know this for a fact, it is entirely plausible that Szczepanowski would have transcribed the same piece also for guitar. The present transcription is therefore a speculative reconstruction of what this evocative example of mid-nineteenth century romanticism would have sounded like, had the composer himself transcribed it for his main instrument—the guitar.
Stanislaw Szczepanowski was born on December 15, 1812 in Naglowice near Krakow. He took part in the failed 1831 uprising against the Russian Czar and with a group of other Polish army officers, emigrated to England. He later went to Edinburgh, where he began his guitar studies with the Polish master Felix Horecki. Later, he studied guitar and composition with Fernando Sor in Paris. Szczepanowski gave his first public concert in 1839, launching an illustrious concert career all over Europe. He was a close friend and associate of Chopin, Habeneck, and Kalkbrenner. One remarkable aspect of his concert activity was his mastery of the violoncello. He used to play both instruments in his concerts, with much acclaim by the leading critics of the time. According to Szczepanowski’s grand-nephew, his famous uncle was active as a secret agent for Polish underground patriotic organizations, and used his concert tours as a cover. He went to live in Lvov in 1852, where he died in 1877. His undercover activities, or at least his association with the anti-Czarist uprising, did not endear Szczepanowski to Nikolai Petrovich Makarov who spoke of him harshly in his memoirs.
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