Aksyonov, Semyon Nikolayevich
- Oleg V. Timofeyev
(b 1784; d Loshaki, Ryazan′ region, 1853). Russian guitarist and composer. He was a nobleman, and combined a military and administrative career with music. He was one of the first, and most successful, pupils of Andrey Sychra, with whom he studied in Moscow. In 1808 he was transferred to Siberia, and from 1810 lived in St Petersburg. In the 1830s he moved to his estate in Ryazan′ region, where he remained until his death. In contrast to Sychra and Vïsotsky, Aksyonov published only a limited number of guitar pieces, but most of them are of excellent quality. Unlike the majority of Russian guitarists, Aksyonov did not limit himself to the guitar: his skilfully written romansï for voice and piano appeared in various musical periodicals. His guitar adaptations of piano pieces (Field's Kamarinskaya and Dussek's La chasse) illustrate his striking sensitivity to the technical potential of the seven-string guitar. He was apparently the first guitarist for whom variations on Russian folk themes became a significant genre. His guitar compositions use innovative techniques that require perfection of left-hand effects, lengthy legatos and portamento. He also invented the technique of performing artificial harmonics on the guitar, a discovery first published in the ...