Personalities | Scott Joplin | Modern Era | Classical

American composer

More than any other composer, Joplin brought ragtime to its pinnacle: his Maple Leaf Rag (1899) is characteristic of his joyous and infectious but disciplined art, while 15 years later Magnetic Rag, with its dramatic and unexpected shifts of key, suggests a composer ready to expand into other areas. Joplin evidently thought so, since he wrote two operas, one destroyed, the other (Treemonisha, 1911) unperformed until 1974.

Recommended Recording:
The Entertainer, Joshua Rifkin (Nonesuch)

Sounds Familiar

The Sting
On the whole a lighthearted and debonair crime-movie, The Sting, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, found not only ideally exuberant period music in Joplin’s rags, but brought them to a new audience. Joplin might well have approved: he made his living not only by publishing his music, but also by distributing it through the new medium of the piano roll.

Introduction | Modern Era | Classical
Personalities | Dmitri Kabalevsky | Modern Era | Classical


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