COMPLETE RAGS FOR PIANO by WILLIAM BALCOM, pianist JOHN MURPHY (2 DISCS)
Bolcom tells this story: "One day in the fall of 1967 I had lunch with Norman Lloyd, then head of the music division for the Rockefeller Foundation, who mentioned having heard of a ragtime opera by Scott Joplin. Read more
Who is that? I asked - few people in 1967 knew the name Scott Joplin - and Norman told me Joplin was the composer of the "Maple Leaf Rag' but that his opera existed only in legend. For some reason I immediately went on the trail of Treemonisha, only to find that no one even at the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, or the Schomburg Collection had it. That is, until I asked my colleague Rudi Blesh at Queens College; we had barely ever said hello before as we rushed in and out of the same office on the way to teaching, but one week I asked him if he knew where I could find a copy of the opera, as all the usual suspects had nothing. When he said, "I have a copy of the vocal score. Shall I bring it next week?" I almost fell off my chair. From this happy event came an exploration of Joplin's rags (courtesy of Rudi's friend Max Morath) as well as the whole field of turn-of-the last-century piano ragtime.