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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't seek anymore. You arrived at last!
This idiomatic conception of the best rags of Scott Joplin in the hands of Joshua Rifkin acquire the highest level.
all These selections are of the first rate.
Don't miss.
Published on May 8 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too fast
I bought the vinyls in the seventies, one album was orange. I renewed my interest via this CD.
I always admired Rifkin's 'not too fast' playing, as compared with the otherwise arousing 'The Sting' and 'ELP Works II'. The sound is slightly dull, as if muffled by a thick moustache.
In particular I am attracted to 'Pinapple Rag', composed in the year my father was...
Published on Aug. 24 2003 by Stefan Steinsson


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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't seek anymore. You arrived at last!, May 8 2004
By 
Hiram Gomez Pardo (Valencia, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
This idiomatic conception of the best rags of Scott Joplin in the hands of Joshua Rifkin acquire the highest level.
all These selections are of the first rate.
Don't miss.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Scott Joplin piano rags recording, bar none, Jan. 6 2004
By 
David M. Fox (Port Orchard, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
I fell in love with this recording as an LP, and still love it as a CD. It is the best recording of Scott Joplin's piano rags I have ever heard. Following the direction of the composer (usually, "NOTE: Do not play this piece fast. It is never right to play Ragtime fast."), Rifkin keeps the tempos where they should be - "The Entertainer" on this album will almost make you cry, so perfect is the tempo to bring out the sheer beauty of the piece. Rifkin's use of a proper instrument (a 9' concert grand piano) and his 99.9% attention to playing the pieces precisely as written, coupled with his virtuosity, make this the premier recording of Scott Joplin's masterpieces. Rifkin does take some very minor liberties in a few of the pieces, but they are tasteful and do not detract from the pieces in question. All other Joplin recordings I have heard contain far more, less tasteful embellishments. Nit-picking this CD for the small liberties taken by Rifkin is to overlook the enormous liberties taken by everyone else and misses the point. You can't find a better Joplin recording than this CD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, Jan. 1 2004
By 
R. Albin (Ann Arbor, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
This CD is a selection of pieces from three albums made by Rifkin over 25 years ago. These are probably Joplin's best pieces and Rifkin's playing is excellent. In several, the music and Rifkin's musicianship are simply wonderful. The defect of these recordings is that the sound quality is mediocre. A number of tracks are 'hissy.' This is not surprising as these albums were originally issued on the bargain Nonesuch label.
Joplin was clearly a tremendously talented individual with a unique voice. His relatively early death, from tertiary syphlis, may have deprived us of much excellent and distinctly American music.
A final comment on the Nonesuch label. Older listeners will recall Nonesuch as an excellent label. Run by people with adventurous and discriminating taste, Nonesuch issued a wide variety of modestly priced recordings including a lot of early music, non-western music, and contemporary serious music. These recordings often lacked the production qualities of higher end labels but the choice of music and artists was generally excellent. This set of Joplin recordings, which were probably Nonesuch's best-seller, is typical of Nonesuch offerings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The King of Scott Joplin recordings!, Sept. 18 2003
By 
Mark Porter (Yokosuka, Japan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
Dear Lovers of Joplin Rags,
You probably are already familiar with the great Nonesuch
LPs by Joshua Rifkin of various of Scott Joplin's rags.
But if for some strange reason you haven't heard Joshua
Rifkin's Joplin CD, then, well, if you like superb piano
playing, get your rears in gear and get hold of this CD!
Ya get me? I simply can't imagine the Joplin rags played
any better than Rifkin does here. Period. If, as I have,
you have tried to emulate the perfection of poise, beauty,
grace, nobility, and cohesiveness of Rifkin's playing, you
undoubtedly have--as I have!--thrown up your hands in
despair! I'm just glad that Joshua Rifkin turned his hands
to the Joplin rags, as I find him the most completely
satisfying performer of this music. I have listened to
the Nonesuch LPs and then the CD version for years, and I have never tired of these ever-fresh performances. I still can't
imagine how Rifkin managed to record these perfectly poised
performances, one perfect take after another! I know
this sounds like I'm overdoing it, but I mean it!
I just wish that "Rose Leaf Rag" had been included on the CD
as it's one of my very favorites, and was on the Nonesuch LPs,
back when LPs were being made!
Further, I fervently wish that someday Mr. Rifkin will read
these reviews and consider making another CD of classic rags--
of other Joplin rags, or those of James Scott, Joseph Lamb,
and others.
By the way, if you can get Mr. Rifkin's CD "Rags and Tangos,"
you're in for another tremendous treat! It's another fantastic
recording, with some James Scott and Joseph Lamb rags, along
with a gorgeous variety of Ernesto Nazareth tangos--another
five-star recording! If you aren't familiar with the Nazareth
tangos, you are really in for a special treat here!
Dear Mr. Rifkin,
Please-please-please make some more piano recordings!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not too fast, Aug. 24 2003
By 
Stefan Steinsson (Hvolsvelli, Iceland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
I bought the vinyls in the seventies, one album was orange. I renewed my interest via this CD.
I always admired Rifkin's 'not too fast' playing, as compared with the otherwise arousing 'The Sting' and 'ELP Works II'. The sound is slightly dull, as if muffled by a thick moustache.
In particular I am attracted to 'Pinapple Rag', composed in the year my father was born, 1908. How would the year 1908 have treated Scott Joplin? Presumably well, as judged from Pinapple Rag's spirit, and the publication of his 'School of Ragtime'.
This CD is to be recommended for those who do believe ragtime should not sound like pistol shooting.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Best So Far, but Overrated, April 25 2003
This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
Currently this recording is the best out there (I am waiting for the supposed recording of Scott Joplin's complete works by Guido Nielsen); Joshua Rifkin doesn't play these pieces fast, they are played on a concert grand piano, and Joshua Rifkin's style of playing fits these pieces perfectly. But contrary to popular belief, this recording is *not* perfect, and it is *not* entirely faithful to the written scores! Joshua Rifkin has taken liberties with the music, and this is most evident in Weeping Willow (the last strain), The Entertainer (the second-to-last strain), Elite Syncopations, the Paragon Rag and the Magnetic Rag. (Someone who is not avidly familiar with Joplin's music or someone who does not care about the precise rendering of it in performance is not apt to care about these details, but to the Joplin afficionado, this recording's flaws should stand out like a sore thumb.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is the definitive Joplin, March 20 2003
By 
Henry (Newton, Morocco) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
Very few interpretations of Joplin come close to this. In my opinion, Rifkin's is *the* definitive Joplin. The music flows like liquid, he has such attention to dynamics, tempo, and subtle accents and adjustments to the rhythms. When he breaks into an oranament, once in a long while, it is all the more fulfilling.
I have never in my life heard Joplin played more beautifully and
with such emotion and precision.
If you have ever heard some of the hammy recordings of Joplin
by other artists, you will cry when you finally hear it as it is supposed to be played. This is classical music, in the literal sense of the word,
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5.0 out of 5 stars great recordings, Jan. 9 2003
By 
Adam Hampson (Dallas TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
nobody's better at joplin than joshua rifkin. it's a shame rifkin didn't record a complete set of all the joplin rags :(
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5.0 out of 5 stars Music for your soul, Dec 29 2002
This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
This is a wonderful CD and much better than I expected. Rifkin plays Joplins tunes very faithfully and the listening quality is pure pleasure. This CD is a great stress-reliever and its hard to feel bad after listening to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive interpretation!, July 15 2002
By 
Ryan Richards "reb77" (Midland, MI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 (Audio CD)
I don't know what I can say about this CD that hasn't already been said, but it's so good that I'll try to add my own two cents. Although he's primarily a Baroque music scholar, Joshua Rifkin (however unintentionally) pretty much spearheaded the Joplin revival in the '70s, and this CD reveals that even after thirty-plus years his recordings are still the best. The emotional content on this CD is incredible not only for its depth, but for its variances; Rifkin subtly varies his playing style strain by strain, and in some cases even measure by measure, to capture the ever-changing moods of each rag. Many performers of Joplin play each piece with the same style and approach throughout, resulting in an emotionally flat experience that sounds like "a bunch of saloon music." Rifkin, conversely, obviously has a keen understanding of what feeling each rag is trying to convey, resulting in a CD that gives us a fresh, new sound with each track while displaying the subtle brilliance and Classical influence of Joplin's music as a whole. Rifkin's best attribute by far, however, is his understanding of Joplin's "Prime Directive" regarding his pieces: "It is never right to play 'ragtime' fast." Unlike other Joplin performers, who seem to use Joplin's works more as flashy showpieces than as music of any real depth, Rifkin doesn't let his ego get in the way of what the music is trying to convey. He's experienced enough to restrain his tempi and play each work on this CD in a relaxed, flowing manner, providing us a chance to truly hear and appreciate the individual notes and rhythms that make up each rag while still maintaining the music's emotional power and vivacity. It certainly doesn't hurt that the sound quality of this CD is rich and full-bodied, too, as opposed to many recordings I've heard in which the piano sounded excessively bright, very tinny and confined, or monotonous and flat (or any combination of these characteristics). The bottom line is that Rifkin's experience and research into the proper performance of Joplin's music shine through on this CD, leaving us with music that is in no hurry to finish itself, but takes its time and saunters easily to the end, displaying a remarkable range of dynamics, emotions and amazing musical architecture on the way--all recorded in crystal-clear sound. While other Joplin CDs may be fun to listen to, this is the one that will not only become THE staple of your Joplin library, it will reveal the amazing technique and artistry behind Joplin's composition, providing a fascinating look into a composer who was (until Rifkin's efforts) unfortunately unknown.
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Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3
Joplin Piano Rags Vol. 1-3 by Joshua Rifkin (Audio CD - 1989)
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