Joplin, Scott – “Piano Rags” – [Nonesuch Records]
Read the sleeve notes of Volume I and II as you delight in the familiar rags and not-so-familiar ballets and waltzes of musician and composer Joplin as played by Joshua Rifkin (musical director of Nonesuch at the time). There’s fascinating information a-plenty about the rise of ragtime in the American Midwest, how Joplin refined the genre, what ragtime is, and how it affected Joplin’s life. The joyous, upbeat lilt of the masterful tickling of the ivories belies the sadness that dogged the end of Joplin’s life, but, since his life was largely his music, the man succeeded in spades. This is a fine tribute.