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Scott Joplin's ragtime gets its dues

22 January 2014 7:30 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

1973's The Sting took it global, but there's more to ragtime music than that film's Keystone Kops crazy-chase soundtrack

Reading on mobile? Click here to listen to The Maple Leaf Rag played by Scott Joplin

One album was all it took to herald a revival. In 1970, the year of Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water and The Beatles' Let It Be, a record of arcane late 19th-century American piano music, released on a label that was otherwise building its reputation as a chronicler of the hardcore American avant-garde, began to sell in implausible quantities. Audiences ordinarily enamoured of piano miniatures by Chopin, Brahms and Liszt were suddenly taking pleasure in the compositions of Scott Joplin, the Texas-born "King of Ragtime" whose über-catchy 1899 Maple Leaf Rag brought him immediate popularity, but who died in 1917 with two typically embarrassing composerly problems hanging over him: syphilis and a terminally unproduced opera, Treemonisha, »

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2014 | 2012 | 2011

1 item from 2014


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