Essential Ragtime

Essential Ragtime

Ref: CDG1254

Essential Ragtime

An album of ragtime fun to get your fingers and toes tapping. Brilliant piano music by Scott Joplin and other light-hearted American composers of the day. Highlights include The Entertainer, Maple Leaf Rag, Solace and Elite Syncopations on American pianos of the period.

1 The Entertainer
Scott Joplin (1868-1917)

2 Maple Leaf Rag
Scott Joplin

3 Harmony Club Waltz
Scott Joplin

4 Elite Syncopations
Scott Joplin

5 Bethena (A Concert Waltz)
Scott Joplin

6 Solace (A Mexican Serenade)
Scott Joplin

7 Harleem Rag
Thomas Million John Turpin (1871 - 1922)

8 Possum and Taters
Charles Hunter (1876-1906)

9 Bohemia Rag
Joseph Francis Lamb (1887 - 1960)

10 Reflection Rag
Scott Joplin

11 Pastime Rag No.4
Artie Matthews (1888-1959)

12 Ragtime Oriole
James Scott (1886-1938)

13 Cataract Rag
Robert Hampton (1890 - 1945)

14 Rialto Ripples
Will Donaldson (1891-1954)/George Gershwin (1898-1937)

15 Port and Beans
C. Luckyth Roberts (1893-1968)

16 Castle House Rag
James Reese Europe (1881-1919)

17 Troublesome Ivories (A Ragtime Rad)
James Hubert "Eubie" Blake (1887-1983)

Martin Souter, piano (tracks 1-6)
Roger Shields, piano (tracks 7-17)

Cover image: Keys on a Piano © Tetra Images / Alamy
(P) & © 2011 Classical Communications Ltd
Made in Great Britain

Scott Joplin was one of the first successful African-American composers, born of an ex-slave into the new society which emerged following the American Civil War. He began life in the Deep South, migrating via Missouri and Illinois to the musical centre that New York had become by the beginning of the twentieth century. He may not have been the inventor of ragtime, but he was probably its greatest exponent, raising its style far beyond the mere confines of popular music by adding a new and unique lyricism to his compositions. Our selection features some of his most famous works. In 'The Entertainer' and 'Elite Syncopations', it is easy to hear the regular accompaniment in the left hand of the piano. This accompaniment was to grow in later years and through other musicians firstly into stride, then to jazz and ultimately to rock and roll. In the 'Harmony Club Waltz', 'Bethena' and 'Solace' there is a profundity and rich harmonic language which is both surprising and extremely moving. As our selection progresses, the music becomes gradually evermore modern. The pace increases, the harmonies change faster and the virtuoso pianist emerges in such works as 'Troublesome Ivories'. All the composers are of African-American descent, with the exception of Joseph Lamb, an Irishman living in the United States, who found fame after a chance meeting with his idol Joplin. The Joplin pieces in this recording are played on two pianos. The first is a Bechstein from the 1890s, a model which became hugely popular in America, while the 'Harmony Club Waltz' and 'Elite Syncopations' are played on an American Grand, a very large rectangular instrument built by Chickering of Boston in 1851.