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Scott Joplin Piano Rags

Joshua Rifkin

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Customer Reviews

Rifkin's Joplin

I first heard this album in 1971. I've heard few things since that touch me so. Ragtime is sometimes thought of as "happy music." But it's only superficially so. For my money, Rifken is the one player who interprets Joplin's music exactly as the composer would want it done...with an underlying sadness that belies the stereotype of saloon or brothel music. Joplin wrote atop several of his manuscripts, "Not too fast!" And Rifken pays attention. Piano music seldom gets better than this.

Ragtime revealed

By observing Scott Joplin's tempos, dynamics, pedal markings and various warnings to the performer like "DO NOT PLAY THIS PIECE FAST! IT IS NEVER RIGHT TO PLAY RAGTIME FAST!" and "DON'T FAKE!", Joshua Rifkin's performance are possibly the closest to what the composer had in mind. Play the Maple Leaf Rag for anyone and watch a broad smile break out as Rifkin launches into that oh-so-familiar second strain. Hear how the Gladiolus Rag blooms from a simple opening into all of its fistful-of-notes glory. And finally, hear Joplin sum up the few successes and many tragedies of his life in the haunting Magnetic Rag, with its many wanderings into the most unlikely keys and its ending suggestive of a candle slowly burning itself out. Of all the recordings of Scott Joplin that came out during the Ragtime mania of the 1970s, this is the collection that every serious listener cherishes and returns to, time after time.

Pure poetry.

This is one of my favorite recordings of all time. I just happened into the iTunes store from listening to Bethena. Joshua Rifkin plays it with such love and grace that it's easy to imagine that Scott Joplin's spirit is somehow manifesting in his hands. If you don't know ragtime well, but you're looking for some music to fall in love with, this would be a very good choice.

Scott Joplin Piano Rags, Joshua Rifkin
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