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Ragging It

May 2, 2008
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Today (actually the evening of May 1st) Performance Today featured an encore performed by Maria Bachmann (violinist) and Jon Klibonoff (pianist) at Merkin Concert Hall, New York City. The melody and rhythm immediately fascinated me πŸ˜€ (listen the first hour of the program, available for a short time or just this piece). This violin work is based on two songs from George Gershwin: “My One and Only” and “Rialto Ripples Rag”. I especially like the latter. (PS: Listen to the opening of this piece. What does it remind you of? πŸ˜‰ )

Ragtime is a kind of American musical style originated in African American musical communities in the late 19th century and by the early 20th century became quite popular through out North American.

… it was usually written in 2/4 or 4/4 time (meter) with a predominant left hand pattern of bass notes on odd-numbered beats and chords on even-numbered beats accompanying a syncopated melody in the right hand. … (from Wiki)

During his teenage time, George Gershwin played ragtime frequently, and some of it even was recorded in piano roll for us to listen to. However, he only wrote one rag, Rialto Ripples, along with Will Donaldson. The music was recorded one year before the publication (1917), more than 90 years ago! Listen to how Gershwin played (2 min 38 sec).

[Oops.. that video was gone. 😦 ]

Played by Jason Kim at an age of 13 (2 min 27 sec)

Another one in YouTube (2 min 10 sec)

Another version (3 min 7 sec) from “Perfessor” Bill Edwards includes the repeats of the B & C sections interspersed with the well-known main theme. Quite interesting.


PS: I went to library and borrowed the only CD containing “Rialto Ripples” Rag, performed by William Tritt (piano) and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (Telarc CD-80166). I don’t like the arrangement by Kunzel. It sounds plain. 😐

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