Top positive review
The best Scott Joplin piano rags recording, bar none
on January 6, 2004
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.