Noel Lester, piano

Catalog #S022593CD [DDD]

George Botsford Hyacinth Rag
Benjamin Harney The Cake Walk in the Sky
Scott Joplin The Easy Winners
Scott Joplin Elite Syncopations
Julius Lenzberg Operatic Rag
Will H. Vodery Carolina Fox Trot
Eubie Blake The Chevy Chase
Roy Bargy/Charles Straight Rufnreddy
Nacio Herb Brown Rag Doll
Billy Mayerl Hollyhock
S.J. Stocco Some Jazz
W. C. Handy Aunt Hagar's Children
George Gershwin Sweet and Low Down,
Nobody But You,
Oh, Lady Be Good,
Clap Yo' Hands,
'S Wonderful,
Somebody Loves Me,
Strike Up the Band

Zez Confrey You Tell 'Em Ivories,
Charleston Chuckles,
Spring Song,
Blue Tornado
Samuel Barber from "Excursions", "slow blues"
Virgil Thomson Ragtime Bass
Brian Dykstra Companion Rag,
Raggedy Blue Romp

Program Notes

Syncopated Sensations is a celebration of American popular piano music - ragtime and related forms - from the early part of the twentieth century, a style and tradition which George Gershwin called "the most vital of contemporary popular music." It is music which has come to symbolize an era, and the first American music to achieve international acceptance. While the music of Scott Joplin and his contemporaries virtually exploded on the scene around 1900, the origins of ragtime and its related forms are somewhat clouded. Indeed, it is not even clear how the term "ragtime" was coined, though it is generally thought to refer to the restless syncopation that made the music so striking and unsettling. While the origins of this style may be unclear, there is no argument that it was originally an African American idiom, dating back to pre-Civil War plantations. There is also no argument that the common thread among all of the forms is syncopated rhythm. This disc represents some of the best of this tradition, with most of the selections from the first twenty-five years of the twentieth century. They are presented in more-or-less chronological order, giving the listener a feel for the progression from the early cakewalks to the modern-day reinventions. Not all of the composers are well known; indeed, some are quite obscure. Their music, however, is unfailingly fresh and inventive and, in the words of Eubie Blake, "had all the best things in music: rhythm, melody and syncopation."


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