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Scott Joplin was born into a poor black family in Texas in 1868, just three years after the abolition of slavery. As a teenager he left home to work as a saloon pianist in ST Louis, a cosmopolitan Mississippi port and the birthplace of Ragtime, the lively piano style which had developed from syncopated minstrel songs and dances. Among many talented black pianists Joplin was the first with the ability to set down in musical notation this new art form, and his second published rag, Maple Leaf (to which Roseleaf Rag makes a worthy counterpart), was a nationwide hit in 1899. Besides rags Joplin wrote other sorts of piano music, such as the graceful Bethena, which he calls a concert waltz and the lovely Solace (featured in the hit film The Sting), whose gentle melancholy and emotionally-charged pauses are overlaid on the rhythms of a Mexican Serenade.
Song(s) in this release:
- Roseleaf Rag
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