Ragtime Composition Notes

The Flowers

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St. Kilda Beach Rag (Paul Copeland, 2000). Paul lived in St. Kilda up until the age of 13. St. Kilda beach was only a 10 minute walk. At the beach there were 2 piers, one large and one small. It was possible to go fishing there in those days and catch flathead and garfish. The swimming was good as the water was very clean.

The sections in "St. Kilda Beach Rag" have titles 'On the Pier', 'Beachwalk', 'Sunbathing' and Surf's Up (the last section 'takes off' to quote from the composer).

The midi file has been very kindly modified by Irwin Schwartz.

St. Louis Tickle (Theron Catlen Bennett as "Barney & Seymore", 1904). "St. Louis Tickle" was published under the name of "Barney & Seymore", but was probably written by Theron Catlen Bennett, as a note in the Pierce City newspaper of the late 1903 reports him going to Chicago and wowing them with his tunes, including "The Tickle". Victor Kremer Co. published much music in commemoration of the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904. This was a hit at the fair and became one of the most beloved rags of all time.

St. Louis Zoo Rag, The (James F. Andris, 1994). The St. Louis Zoo is one of the finest zoos in the world. It is located in Forest Park. You can hear the big and little animals if you listen carefully in my rag which commemorates this zoo. [James F. Andris]

Satisfaction in Love (Mateusz Watroba, 1995). In 1990, I met a girl named Kate. But it wasn't until late 1994 that we started a more close relationship. Initially, she was my friend, my consolator. Then, I took over the initiative and tried to make her my "real" girlfriend. I invited her to a week-long trip to the mountains - and she agreed! The trip turned out to be a complete success. So, in February 1995, I wanted to introduce some new harmonic solutions - to show how the music is composed by Matthew the Happy, Matthew the Satisfied. I am modern enough to give this piece such an explicit title. [Mateusz Watroba]

Sedalia Rag (Tamás Ittzés, 2001). "Sedalia Rag" was composed on March 28, 2001 exclusively for the Ragtime Composition Contest of the 2001 Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, where it won the 1st prize!

Sentimental Rag (Martin Jäger, 1992). As the title suggests it's a sentimental piece which has some beautiful melodies. It was written by the Swiss ragtime composer Martin Jäger. The format used in this rag is a rondo, with the return of A and B strains at the end. "Sentimental Rag" was recorded by the composer on a CD entitled "It's Rag Time!" (© 1997, Downtown Records).

Shaw's Gardens Rag, The (James F. Andris, 1994). We have a lovely botanical garden in St. Louis, one of the world's finest. It contains a Japanese Garden and much else. An Englishman emigreé who became a wealthy St. Louis patron donated land and maintained the Garden, and his tomb is there. [James F. Andris]

Short Trip, A (Un corto viaje) (Ezequiel Pallejá, 2000). The trip that allows one to get away from it all and think about what truly is important in life. [Ezequiel Pallejá]

Silky Mississippi, The (James F. Andris, 1999). Sometimes the waters of the Mississippi River around St. Louis are a smooth chocolate, silky like this rag. [James F. Andris]

Sleepy Lou (Irene M. Giblin, 1906). Irene M. Giblin (1888-1974) was a native of St. Louis, Mo. Soon after she graduated from high school, she was hired as a salesperson/pianist in the music department of a large St. Louis department store. Her job was to play sheet music that customers were considering buying, and also to promote new sheet music arrivals by playing "the latest tunes" for all to hear.

In the first decade of the 20th century in St. Louis, much of that new music was ragtime, and young Miss Giblin soon tried her hand at writing some rags of her own. A list of her compositions includes: "Chicken Chowder" (1905), "Sleepy Lou" (1906), "Soap Suds" (1906), "Pickaninny Rag" (1908), "Black Feather" (1908), "Ketchup Rag" (1910), "The Aviator Rag" (1910), "Columbia" (1910), "The Dixie Rag" (1913).

"Chicken Chowder", her first rag, was probably her most popular. But in her second rag, the relaxed "Slow and Drag" tempo, the call-and-response structure of the first strain, and Giblin's distinctive chromaticism all combine to give "Sleepy Lou" an easy-going charm all its own.

Like many women of her era, Irene Giblin gave up her career to marry and raise a family. In a 1983 article in "The Ragtimer, her son, Ed O'Brien remembered his mother as "an extremely talented pianist" who played many styles of music very well. " ... but it was obvious that the ragtime type of music was her first love."

Slipova (Roy Bargy, 1921). "Slipova" was an early syncopated novelty by Roy Bargy with a hint of the blues thoughout. While his recorded version was never issued, two others have been. Studio pianist Frank Banta and rag writer Cliff Hess recorded it as a duet in 1923, and British pianist, Patricia Rossborough made a super recording of it in 1923.

Solace - A Mexican Serenade (Scott Joplin, 1909). Unique as the only tango in Joplin's work (although there are tango episodes in certain rags), "Solace" is like a tribute to Lottie Stokes, whom he had just married. It is indescribably romantic and intimate. Few pieces of piano music can match its particular mood of slow, deep, inward passion. Hearing it and thinking of Lottie, one realizes that she was solace to him and more - certainly, inspiration.

Sorrow and Joy (Mateusz Watroba, 1997). It is a splitted commposition. The first strain was composed in October, 1994, during the time of one of the greatest nervous breakdowns in my life, when there was no Edith, and there was no Kate, yet. The two optimistic strains were composed in March, 1997, and were related to my reflections over looking for love of one's life and finding it. What I tried to compose was a ragtime waltz with discreet reflections of Chopinesque mazurka. You can evaluate if I've managed to do it. [Mateusz Watroba]

Southern Beauties (Charles L. Johnson, 1907). A rare rag by Charles L. Johnson, composed in 1907. The version I could listen to was an orchestral one, played in a march style. I tried to make a pianistic version, that pre-announces jazz. I like the spirit of this piece, which confirms that ragtime is a uniquely happy musical style. [Ezequiel Pallejá]

Spaniard, The - A Slow Drag Two Step (Colm O'Brien, 1990). This rag was composed in 1990 by the Irish ragtime composer/pianist Colm O'Brien. It is written in the classical ragtime mode, and the structure is AA BB A CC DD. "The Spaniard" has been recorded by Colm O'Brien on the CD entitled "Scott Joplin, Gershwin, Fats Waller & All That".

Spiffy (William Rowland, 1993). "Spiffy" was composed in 1993 for our the youngest of our three daughters Jocelyn Christina Rowland, who has turned out to be a gifted musician and a composer in her own right. Special thanks is given to Johnny Maddox, who encouraged me to begin writing rags again. [William Rowland]

Spotlight Rag (William Rowland, 1996). "Spotlight Rag" honors the Spotlight Theatre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which hosts "The Drunkard" melodrama every Saturday night. It began in 1953, and is the longest-running production of its kind in America. I play piano there once or twice a month, and wrote this rag for them in 1996. It includes the familiar villain theme as well as a musical reference to God Bless America, which is sung at every performance. This arrangement is for Ragtime Band. [William Rowland]

Star, The - Ragtime (René Richard Schmal, 1919). Written by the Austrian composer René Richard Schmal this rag was copyrighted in 1919 by Ludwig Doblinger (Bernhard Herzmansky), Leipzig. R. R. Schmal was born on December 25, 1897 in Vienna, where he worked as an art dealer. He composed popular piano pieces and songs. "The Star - Ragtime" has been recorded by the "Bohém Ragtime Jazzband" (Hungary) on the CD "Hungarian Rag" (© 1994, Tandem Records).

Step-Piquante (Gunnar Boberg, 1916). A pleasant one-step, which was written by the Swedish composer, arranger and pianist Gunnar Boberg (1890-1949), and published in 1916 by Svala & Söderlund, Stockholm.

Stockholms-Step (Stina Engström, 1914). This ragtime-like one-step was written by the Swedish female composer Stina Engström, and published in 1914 by Svenska Musikförlaget, Stockholm. It has been performed by the famous Norwegian ragtime pianist Morten Gunnar Larsen at the 1991 Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.

Stork-Trot (Robert Stolz, 1919). This tune cannot be classified as ragtime. It's nevertheless a pleasant work by the famous Austrian operetta composer Robert Stolz (1880-1975). During his lifetime he composed over 1000 works (operettas, songs and piano solos). "Stork-Trot" from 1919 was his Opus 320.

Summer Afternoon (Mateusz Watroba, 1995). Composed in June, 1995. My inspirations were beautiful weather and the fact that the holidays were coming. [Mateusz Watroba]

Summer Day (Mateusz Watroba, 1996). Composed in August, 1996. Kate had left me in April, so I was a lonely graduate of medical studies. Despite the fact that I was so accustomed to living with my parents, I chose a job in Warsaw, because it offered me an occasion to do some scientific research and to be up-to-date with medical news. The piece itself was inspired by a beautiful, warm, sunny weather. [Mateusz Watroba]

Sunshine Capers (Roy Bargy, 1922). "Sunshine Capers" is filled with the liveliness and sprightliness of the best novelty piano works. Its lightheartedness belies the extraordinary difficulty of the piece, full of novelty breaks. It was published on February 7, 1922 by Sam Fox Publishing Co., Cleveland.

Sweet Expectations (Mateusz Watroba, 1995). In 1990, I met a girl named Kate. But it wasn't until late 1994 that we started a more close relationship. Initially, she was my friend, my consolator. Then, I took over the initiative and tried to make her my "real" girlfriend. I invited her to a week-long trip to the mountains - and she agreed! Just imagine my excitement and expectation before that trip. I expressed all of these in the composition. It was composed on the 23rd of January, 1995. [Mateusz Watroba]

Sydney Opera House Rag (Paul Copeland, 2000). The Sydney Opera House is in the main harbour of Sydney, Australia, just before the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Many concerts are held there each year and you can't miss seeing the building if you cross the bridge or if you take a ferry ride. This is a very 'classical' rag. Of structural interest are the A, C and D sections, in which a type of 'leit-motif' is used in the form of two chords. In section A, the two-chord motif is an eighth note followed by a tied eighth note and then a flourish. In section C, the two-chord motif is an eighth note followed by a dotted quarter note and then a flourish. In section D, the two-chord motif is a quarter note followed by an eighth note All the above two-note motifs are chords moving upward. An interesting structure has emerged, I think. For the sake of contrast, section B is very different from the other sections. [Paul Copeland]

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Copyright © 1996 Oleg Mezjuev.
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