Rags & Tangos

Rags & Tangos

by Joshua Rifkin
     
 
Pianist, conductor, and musicologist Joshua Rifkin enjoys a status of high authority and expertise in four distinct genres: Johann Sebastian Bach, the Beatles, sacred vocal music of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, and in piano ragtime of the early twentieth century. Rifkin's work as an interpreter of piano ragtime

Overview

Pianist, conductor, and musicologist Joshua Rifkin enjoys a status of high authority and expertise in four distinct genres: Johann Sebastian Bach, the Beatles, sacred vocal music of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, and in piano ragtime of the early twentieth century. Rifkin's work as an interpreter of piano ragtime has garnered the most attention among his varied interests, though the majority of it was done for Nonesuch in the LP era and relatively little has appeared on compact disc. Fans of Rifkin's classy and well-ordered approach to ragtime will definitely appreciate the inclusion of his 1991 album Rags & Tangos in Decca's budget Eloquence series. Rags & Tangos is the first and, by September 2007, only album Rifkin is featured as pianist made with the CD format in mind; 1979's Digital Ragtime for EMI was Rifkin's first all-digital recording, but it dates from the tail end of the LP era. Rags & Tangos allows Rifkin to apply his artistry to some of the "other" composers in the so-called School of Classic Ragtime -- other than Scott Joplin that is -- namely James Scott and Joseph Lamb. Rifkin sees a sense of affinity between classic ragtime and the contemporary, but historically only the distantly related form of tango, and winds nine tangos of Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth into the program; Nazareth is represented here more conspicuously than the other two composers combined. In a superficial sense, what relates the American mid-western mavericks and that from south of the border is that these works are scored as piano music, laid out in a simple and direct manner, intended for the popular market. One wonders if such relationship, to some extent, is achieved through Rifkin's playing. His preference for leisurely tempos and tendency toward coolness -- while not evident in pieces designed for obviously fast tempi such as Scott's "Evergreen Rag" nor Nazareth's "Choro Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho" -- does tend to unify the sound of most of this album. One may correspondingly view Rifkin's work on behalf of Johann Sebastian Bach as being similarly motivated; his preference for bare bones dimensions in the "Mass in B minor" is so done in the name of achieving period accuracy; however, the result displays the telltale signs of Rifkin's personal stamp. Ergo, the similitude offered here linking Nazareth with James Scott and Joseph Lamb may be more like verisimilitude. Most listeners pre-disposed toward Rifkin in ragtime will not care about these middling matters of musicology, and in the sense of delivering what it says it is, Rags & Tangos does exactly that. Those unfamiliar with this artist coming to this collection with the purpose of getting to know the music should be aware, however, that such homogenization of distantly related genres is the exception rather than the rule, particularly concerning the tango.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/12/2007
Label:
Eloquence Australia
UPC:
0028947624455
catalogNumber:
4762445
Rank:
9690

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Evergreen Rag for piano
  2. Apanhei-te cavaquinho, tango for piano
  3. Ragtime Nightingale, for piano
  4. Vitorioso, tango for piano
  5. American Beauty Rag for piano
  6. Odeon, tango for piano, Op 146
  7. Nove de julho, tango for piano
  8. Bohemia Rag for piano
  9. Top Liner Rag for piano
  10. Labirinto, tango for piano
  11. Guerreiro, tango for piano
  12. Modesty Rag for piano
  13. Peace and Plenty Rag for piano
  14. Troubadour Rag for piano
  15. Plangente, tango for piano
  16. Cubanos, tango for piano
  17. Fon-Fon, tango for piano

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