Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Wed, 07 Jun 2023 19:31:26 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Joshua Rifkin Plays Scott Joplin’s Piano Rags (2007) Joshua Rifkin Plays Scott Joplin’s Piano Rags (2007)

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01 Maple leaf rag
02 The entertainer		play
03 The ragtime dance
04 Gladiolous rag
05 Fig leaf rag
06 Scott Joplin’s new rag
07 Euphonic sounds
08 Elite syncopations
09 Bethena
10 Paragon rag
11 Solace
12 Pineapple rag		play
13 Weeping willow rag
14 The cascades
15 Country club
16 Stoptime rag
17 Magnetic rag

Joshua Rifkin - piano


Ever since I first heard Joshua Rifkin's first LP of the Scott Joplin rags (when searching for music to play along with Super 8 silent comedies back in the early 70s), I have been in love with these recordings. Rifkin's sensitive playing finds a dignity and variety of moods in these rags, waltzes, senerades, dances, etc., that is simply astonishing. This music is the link between romantic classical music and early jazz, and it combines some of the finest elements of both. Having a classicly trained musician perform it (vs. someone from the stride or barrelhouse - much less honkytonk! - school) reveals much of the subtle beauty and invention in these compositions...

Once you've heard this, both the "fingerbreaker" high-speed approach to ragtime that preceded this, and the Hamlisch-ized popularization of this music that came later, fade into insignificance! And having nearly all of the 3 original LPs on a single CD is fantastic. My ONLY complaint is that the recordings themselves, particularly the first group from 1970, seem somewhat flat and lacking in the rich tone and dynamics that we expect nowadays. No matter, these performances are wonderful. No other recordings of Joplin come close - do yourself a favor and grab this one! ---Michael S. Goldfarb


I've always been a big fan of ragtime, and have many records and CD's in my collection. This has always been my favorite recording of Scott Joplin. Rifkin plays clearly and smoothly when called for, and the dynamics make each piece a delight to hear. Other recordings I've heard sound "choppy" or rushed compared to this disc; Joplin himself stated that his pieces were not to be played fast. Other recordings I've heard have way too much pedal, making them "muddy." This one is perfect... a little pedal at the right time, but never too much. The large-room auditorium sound of this recording only adds to its charm: it obviously wasn't recorded in a small, dampened studio; even so, each note is distinct. In addition, Rifkin is quite faithful to the original score. Other performers will stick in too many embellishments so that the music is no longer as Joplin wrote it. Rifkin sprinkles a few of his own grace notes or other ornaments occasionally, but they are always done with such taste that they never detract from the listener's enjoyment. If you have just one Scott Joplin recording in your collection, make it this one. Even if you own other collections of Scott Joplin's recordings, get this one. It's the best of them all! ---‘Gimpy’ Peach Johnson

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]]> (bluesever) Joplin Scott Wed, 25 May 2011 18:42:45 +0000
Scott Joplin - Super Hits (2000) Scott Joplin - Super Hits (2000)

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1 The Entertainer 			4:18 	
2 Maple Leaf Rag 			3:20 	
3 The Easy Winners - A Ragtime Two Step 		3:28 
4 Peacherine Rag 			3:35 	
5 Elite Syncopations 			3:38 	
6 Cleopha (March and two-step) 		2:50 	
7 Original Rags 			4:27 	
8 Pine Apple Rag 			3:33 	
9 Bink's Waltz 			4:44 	
10 The Strenuous Life (a ragtime two-step) 		3:32 	
11 Sunflower Slow Drag (A Ragtime Two-step) 		4:02 	
12 Paragon Rag 			3:42 	
13 Great Crush Collision - March 		4:02

E. Power Biggs – pedal harpsichord


Classical musicians have been featured playing ragtime since Joshua Rifkin's bestselling albums of the late 1960's. Many of these classically-influenced performances were appealing, but at the same time seemed a little stiff, a little pedantic, like badly played Handel. In contrast, E. Power Biggs, the Bach organ virtuoso, makes Scott Joplin really live. He opens up some intriguing new dimensions in this collection of rags, recorded in 1973.

Biggs performs the music on the pedal harpsichord--which would seem to be an unlikely choice--but the percussive quality of the harpsichord makes the syncopations clear and crisp. The magnificent instrument used, made by John Challis, has a range of timbres, and Biggs combines and varies these so the different pieces each have their own character. The bass is played on foot pedals, and the left hand plays the chords on the off-beat. The right hand plays the melody on a separate keyboard, assigned a different voice for clarity. It sounds less like a baroque performance than a ragtime string band--something like the mandolin-guitar-string bass combinations of the ragtime era.

While Biggs maintains the syncopations of the pieces, there is not a strong African American feeling. He doesn't rag that thing. But he has a wonderful ear for the chorale-like harmonies in Joplin, and a natural sense of the phrasing of the pieces that brings out the structure. He slows just a little at the final chord that marks the end of each melodic strain, and then picks up the tempo in the next strain, as if the piece was getting its second wind. These tempo changes are subtle, but the effect is very satisfying. Along with the tonal variations, the phrasing helps keep this somewhat-formulaic music from sounding all the same.

The pieces performed will be familiar to Joplin listeners: Maple Leaf Rag, of course, and the usual selections such as Original Rags and The Easy Winners. The approach is different enough that hearing the standard rags does not seem like covering old ground. On the other hand, it is sad that Biggs, like the rest of the classical world, overlooked all the other ragtime composers, and the related early jazz of musicians like James P. Johnson or Willie "The Lion" Smith (who composed the 12th Street Rag). It would have been very interesting to hear what Biggs would have done with these more complex works. ---L. Carmichael,

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]]> (bluesever) Joplin Scott Fri, 23 Oct 2009 10:57:42 +0000
Scott Joplin - The Easy Winners & Other Rag-Time Music (1975) Scott Joplin - The Easy Winners & Other Rag-Time Music (1975)

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01. The Rag-Time Dance
02. The Easy Winners
03. Bethena (A Concert Waltz)
04. Magnetic Rag
05. The Strenuous Life (Rag-Time Two-Step)
06. The Entertainer
07. Elite Syncopations
08. Solace (A Mexican Serenade)
09. Pine Apple Rag
10. Sugar Cane (A Rag-Time Classic Two-Step)

Itzhak Perlman – violin
Andre Previn – piano


Of course this gem had to appear as a CD, too. I have been listening to it on vinyl since 1975 when it was a grammy-nominee (category: classical chamber music!), and it is still one of the brightest shining stars in my ragtime-collection. It is the very recording that opened the eyes of the classical music-listeners to ragtime with its comparison between Joplin and his austrian contemporary Fritz Kreisler - and Joplin certainly holds his own.

The arrangements are written by Perlman, who has done a marvellous job in transforming the "saloon music" into "salon music" without loosing the original ragtime feeling. And the performance by Perlman and Previn is "living music" at it's best - 2 stars of the classical music showing us that there are really just two kinds of music: Good music and poor music. And Joplin's rags are good music! ---Per Salling,

download (mp3 @320 kbs):

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]]> (bluesever) Joplin Scott Sun, 18 Oct 2015 15:55:24 +0000
Scott Joplin – Treemonisha (1910/1972) Scott Joplin – Treemonisha (1910/1972)

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1. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 1 Overture	Houston Grand Opera Orchestra	7:31
2. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 2 The bag of luck	Ben Harney	6:37
3. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 3 The corn huskers	Carmen Balthrop	0:43	
4. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 4 We're goin' around (A Ring Play)	Kenneth Hicks	2:10	play
5. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 5 The wreath	Carmen Balthrop	1:36	
6. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 6 The sacred tree	Betty Allen	7:41
7. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 7 Surprised	Carmen Balthrop	0:17
8. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 8 Treemonisha's bringing up	Betty Allen	3:57
9. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 9 Good advice	Edward Pierson	4:43
10. Treemonisha / Act one - No. 10 Confusion	Betty Allen	2:45

1. Treemonisha / Act two - No. 11 Superstition	Raymond Bazemore	3:39	
2. Treemonisha / Act two - No. 12 Treemonisha in Peril	Raymond Bazemore	2:52	
3. Treemonisha / Act two - No. 13 Frolic of the bears	Houston Grand Opera Orchestra	3:08
4. Treemonisha / Act two - No. 14 The wasp nest	Raymond Bazemore	1:14
5. Treemonisha / Act two - No. 15 The rescue	Carmen Balthrop	1:26
6. Treemonisha / Act two - No. 16 We will rest a while	Houston Grand Opera Chorus	1:24	
7. Treemonisha / Act two - No. 17 Going home	Carmen Balthrop	0:39
8. Treemonisha / Act two - No. 18 Aunt Dinah has blowed the horn	Houston Grand Opera Chorus	1:34
9. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 19 Prelude	Houston Grand Opera Orchestra	3:33
10. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 20 I want to see my child	Betty Allen	2:23	 	play
11. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 21 Treemonisha's return	Betty Allen	3:34
12. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 22 Wrong is never right (A Lecture)	Curtis Rayam	5:52
13. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 23 Abuse	Kenneth Hicks	0:28
14. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 24 When villains ramble far and near (A Lecture)
Sir Willard White 4:56 15. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 25 Conjurors forgiven Carmen Balthrop 1:08 16. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 26 We will trust you as our leader Carmen Balthrop 8:34 17. Treemonisha / Act three - No. 27 A real slow drag Carmen Balthrop 5:32
Treemonisha - Carmen Balthrop Monisha - Betty Allen Remus - Curtis Rayman Ned - Willard White Zodzetrick - Ben Harney Lucy - Cora Johnson Andy - Kenneth Hicks Luddud - Dorceal Duckens Cephus - Dwight Ransom Simon - Raymond Bazemore Parson Alltalk - Edward Pierson Houston Grand Opera Orchestra & Chorus Gunther Schuller – director


Joplin (ca. 1868-1917), whose fame as a composer had skyrocketed in the 1960s and '70s as a result of the "rediscovery" of his rags by Gunther Schuller, Joshua Rifkin, and others, poured his heart and soul into this tale of black sharecroppers and their struggle against ignorance and superstition in late-19th-century Arkansas. Yet he was never able to get the work staged in his lifetime. This recording comes from Treemonisha's belated full-scale staging at Houston Grand Opera in 1975, with a splendid cast headed by Carmen Balthrop, Betty Allen, Curtis Rayam, and Willard White, directed by Frank Corsaro and conducted by Gunther Schuller (who provided the arrangements and the scoring). Joplin's tuneful score is a lively mix of ragtime, minstrel show, vaudeville, grand opera, Wagner, Verdi, and Offenbach, with lots of dancing, a big role for the chorus, and arias and ensembles of affecting simplicity and beauty. Schuller gets an impressively crisp performance from the orchestra, a Dixieland band with added strings and winds, and paces the performance to perfection--for fun, just listen to the Act II-ending chorus "Aunt Dinah has blowed the horn." The recording sounds as fresh and bright as the inspiration that speaks from every page of this all-American score. --Ted Libbey


I already have the Houston Treemonisha on vinyl but after sixteen years it is likely to deteriorate so I bought the CD too. Treemonisha is not grand opera in the traditional sense; it is not a ragtime opera; it isn't this, that or the other thing. It is itself, uniquely beautiful, profoundly moving and probably a work of genius. Surely we, as music lovers of the world, have matured beyond the compulsion to place every piece of music in a defining category. Some criticisms of Treemonisha I have read are little less absurd than admonishing the player of an Indian raga for not modulating according to sonata form. The disease is a product of too much learning and sadly afflicts talented professionals even more commonly than it does the man in the street.

The forces behind Treemonisha are very eloquently explained in the liner notes, and need no further elaboration. The love and regard for the music by those producing and performing it is abundantly obvious. The technical quality of the recording is excellent and the notes provide even the most naive listener (and Treemonisha is superbly naive in the best sense of the word) with everything necessary in the way of background. A review cannot influence a prejudiced mind. This work, if any, is a prime candidate for Debussy's maxim - just listen, it is enough. ---E.G. Jones

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]]> (bluesever) Joplin Scott Tue, 17 May 2011 15:16:58 +0000