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Scott Joplin: Piano Rags
Scott Joplin, Alexander Peskanov
Scott Joplin: Piano Rags
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Scott Joplin, Alexander Peskanov
Title: Scott Joplin: Piano Rags
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Naxos American
Release Date: 8/17/2004
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Classical
Styles: Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, Easy Listening, Chamber Music, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 636943911426

CD Reviews

Artistic Freedom
Beverly Sullivan | Salem, Oregon | 09/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have often listened to the music of Scott Joplin, and find the new CD by Alexander Peskanov to be both innovative and compelling. Peskanov's performance of "Original Rags" is playful and titillating. "Maple Leaf" is played with energy and verve, while "Easy Winners" boasts an elegant style. Peskanov's playing is filled with color and phrases are beautifully shaped. His tone quality is never percussive, and he is able to maintain expressiveness even in the softest passages. Peskanov's double notes - 3rds, 6ths and octaves, will be appreciated by any fine keyboard player. I find his improvisational style to be very carefully crafted, preserving the melodic line and harmonic structure. His respect for Joplin's music is evident in each and every rag.

Today in our western society, we sometimes hear from self-proclaimed critics who profess that they are aware of the composer's intentions and dismiss any original approach to music. Peskanov's interpretation of Scott Joplin's music elevates these fine works from the dance halls and movie theaters, and brings them to the concert stage. His musical efforts add to the great legacy of Scott Joplin.

A conservative approach that leaves no room for artistic freedom makes music dull and turns it into a dying art! Joplin's music belongs to the whole world - not just to those who choose to read about his style from a book!"
Musically satisfying Joplin !
Marilyn M. Davis | Tennessee | 09/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"People who wish to start their day in a happy mood should rush to order this CD! Peskanov has shown us once again how gifted he is regardless of the style of music he chooses to perform.Listen to his previously released Naxos CD of the Brahms Violin and Piano Sonatas as an example.
In the Joplin CD he treats the slower rags with his gift of melodic interpretation and the faster ones with his outstanding rhythmic energy.
I feel certain Joplin himself would have enjoyed Peskanov's fresh and delightful rendition!"
Not "real," but not bad
Ryan Richards | Midland, MI United States | 10/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"For someone who considers Joshua Rifkin's 1970s recordings of Joplin's rags to be the gold standard of their performance, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy this CD. Peskanov is obviously an accomplished pianist, so there's no lack of technique here, but the fun of this CD comes in how he embellishes each rag to make it his own. Sometimes said embellishment goes over the top (I don't think Elite Syncopations really needed that third repeat of the last strain), but in general these performances inject a lot of levity into a form of music whose formulaic structure can turn it stolid upon repeated listenings. Interestingly enough, after his hell-for-leather "Maple Leaf Rag," Peskanov relaxes the tempi and the mood of many of the rest of the selections on this CD. In a lot of instances, they actually sound more mellow than the aforementioned Rifkin recordings. This isn't profound Joplin by any means, but it's the kind of Joplin the pianist at the bar might be playing as you took your seat - relaxing and fun.

All that said, I want to second what other reviewers have mentioned: This CD does NOT represent a historically accurate rendition of Joplin's music, and as such it should not be your first or only recording of these pieces. The fun comes at the expense of breaking several conventions Joplin was very clear on: Don't play ragtime fast, play it exactly as written, etc. I'd recommend this CD only if you already own a more definitive recording of these works, such as the aforementioned Rifkin (on the Nonesuch label, ASIN B000005IYF). I've also been very pleased with Richard Zimmerman's Joplin recordings - he embellishes beyond Joplin's stated intentions as well, but he nonetheless stays truer to the original spirit of these works.

Bottom line is, this CD is thickly frosted cake, and while we all love cake, you need to have your meat and potatoes first. However, as long as you've heard a "truer" recording of these pieces, go ahead and indulge in Peskanov's interpretations. At this price, it's hardly a risk."