- Audio CD (Sep 15 1992)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Import
- Label: Deutsche Grammophon
- ASIN: B000001GGD
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
|1. Treemonisha - Act One: No.1 Overture|
|2. Treemonisha - Act One: No.2 The Bag of Luck|
|3. Treemonisha - Act One: No.3 The Corn Huskers|
|4. Treemonisha - Act One: No.4 We're Goin' Around (A Ring Play)|
|5. Treemonisha - Act One: No.5 The Wreath|
|6. Treemonisha - Act One: No.6 The Sacred Tree|
|7. Treemonisha - Act One: No.7 Surprised|
|8. Treemonisha - Act One: No.8 Treemonisha's Bringing Up|
|9. Treemonisha - Act One: No.9 Good Advice|
|10. Treemonisha - Act One: No.10 Confusion|
|1. Treemonisha - Act Two: No.11 Superstition|
|2. Treemonisha - Act Two: No.12 Treemonisha in Peril|
|3. Treemonisha - Act Two: No.13 Frolic Of The Bears|
|4. Treemonisha - Act Two: No.14 The Wasp Nest|
|5. Treemonisha - Act Two: No.15 The Rescue|
|6. Treemonisha - Act Two: No.16 We Will Rest Awhile|
|7. No.17 Going Home|
|8. Treemonisha - Act Two: No.18 Aunt Dinah Has Blowed The Horn|
|9. Treemonisha - Act Theee: No.19 Prelude|
|10. Treemonisha - Act Theee: No.20 I Want to See My Child|
See all 17 tracks on this disc
1. The libretto is really dreadful. This is by the composer, so he has no one else to blame. What's wrong with it? Not only is it stilted and false (as Joplin's music NEVER is) not only is the storyline puerile, but there is a strong streak of patronising condecension from the comparitively successful, educated, middle class Joplin towards "ignorant" and "superstitious" working class blacks. I find this particularly inexcusable in Joplin's case, even considered in the light of the times.
2. Generally the whole work shows poor to non-existent stagecraft. For instance, the plot is largely driven by long extended semi-recitative narrative numbers. These drag unbearably when listened to on a recording, although they may work better in a theatre I can see an audience getting lost there, too. Of course if Joplin had received a more sympathetic hearing from the highly prejudiced musical establishment of his day, and had a chance for a proper rehearsal process, he would probably have fixed a lot of this - to be fair he had little or no theatrical experience - but then we have to assess the work as we have it, rather than what might have been.
3. Finally, while the music certainly has its moments - even at its best there is little of the joyous spirit of the great rags. Joplin seems to have been over-intent on producing "serious" music, to the extent of suppressing the best of his own genius.
I am STILL glad I bought this recording - if only because it is such an important historical document. I just wish I really enjoyed listening to it. Perhaps it will grow on me - certainly I will have to give it a chance.
Next year, I'm in Los Angeles, and the first thing I do is run to the library to find out who this Scott Joplin is. I found records of his piano rags, and of Treemonisha. The piano music is just as breathtaking. And all this greatness from a humble saloon pianist and a "Negro"! I was in awe. I proclaimed him the greatest American composer, period.
If Gilbert and Sullivan had written Treeminisha, wouldn't it be considered the magnum opus? I think so! Scott Jopin's entire work belongs in every house.