Roundup: Europe and back

Scott Joplin.

This week I detailed a few memories and meditations regarding my travels to Paris last week — just one step ahead of our esteemed leader, who seems to have made it his mission to destroy every last one of our transatlantic partnerships. Interestingly, in the hotel we stayed at, Marilyn caught a glimpse of Rudolph Giuliani stepping into an elevator, apparently an advance guard for the steamroller to follow. But I’m convinced there will always be a Europe, regardless of all the attempts to raze it to the ground.

Next week our usual programming, most of which seems to be associated with Americana, will resume. But to close out today, I offer Joshua Rifkin’s cheerful, driving rendition of Scott Joplin‘s “Stoptime Rag,” composed in 1910. It’s one of Joplin’s rare ventures into the novelty rag; note Rifkin’s footstomping beat in the below recording. (Marilyn herself will be performing Joplin’s “Bethena” on a program with Charles Ives’ “Concord” sonata at St. Bart’s next season; click here and scroll down to May, but don’t miss any of the other concerts, either.)

See you at Cafe Katja this afternoon. Prost!

Ragtime break

Scott Joplin.

Today the New York Times remembers ragtime great Scott Joplin, who died 100 years ago last month:

While here, Mr. Joplin published 25 of his 53 works, including three significant rags: “Wall Street,” “Pineapple” and “Magnetic.” He wrote his 1911 opera Treemonisha in Harlem. Its theme — the salvation of the African-American race through education — made it a tough sell at the time. He “couldn’t get anyone interested in it,” [pianist Richard] Dowling said. “Even Irving Berlin turned him down.”

Below, Joshua Rifkin performs “Bethena: A Concert Waltz,” one of Joplin’s lovelier efforts, composed in 1905. According to Wikipedia, “It was the first Joplin work since his wife Freddie’s death on September 10, 1904 of pneumonia, ten weeks after their wedding.”