Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Scott Joplin, Joshua Rifkin, The Southland Stingers|
Joplin: Digital Ragtime / Joshua Rifkin - Wall Street Rag / The Southland Stingers
Genres: Jazz, Classical
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The music does not come alive
Themis Matsoukas | State College, PA United States | 02/16/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is a mixed bag. Rifkin's interpretations are marked by two unpleasant characteristics. First, he insists upon inserting his own extraneous notes to the score. These are small additions such as passing notes and modest embellishments that are added in the repeat of a part. Though small, these additions are sometimes corny and so far out of style for ragtime that damage to the piece is irreparable. The most annoying improvisation is in the Entertainer (third part in F) which I found so offensive that for several years I refused to play this CD.
The second unpleasantness is the very slow tempo. It is well known that Joplin frequently marked on the score the instruction "not fast" but this is generally understood as an instruction to hold back the ambitious pianist who who wants to show off by playing fast. But Rifkin's tempo borders the unbearable: his interpretation of the Entertainer lasts an unbelievable 5:25 min! Much of the effect of harmonic variation is lost at this low tempo. Other pieces, such as the calm Solace and the Heliotrope Bouquet, do not suffer as much under the slow tempo --although they could benefit from a faster beat-- and the Maple Leaf rag is in fact pleasant, as in most other recordings it is usually too fast. The band renditions by the Southland Stingers are fun, though I would have liked to hear Bethena in its original piano score."