Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Scott Joplin Leads The Way In Any Language

A couple of weeks ago, pianist Karen Pate and I presented a program, Ragtime in Music and Words, at the King County Library in Federal Way, WA. Karen played selections from ragtime composed during the past century, and I talked about the history of ragtime, focusing primarily on Scott Joplin and his efforts to transform folk ragtime into a form of classical music, respected and honored as fine art. Joplin succeeded, but acknowledgement of his success only came years after the composer's death.

After the event, a woman in the audience came up to thank Karen and  me, and presented us each with a message in kanji on a small wooden block. She'd written them during the concert. The gift to Karen complimented her musical performance, while mine, the artist said, was  her own take on Scott Joplin's lifelong ambition to create a new American musical genre, and translated out to 'beautiful dream,' or 'beautiful vision.' Right on.


Marni said...

Larry, what a lovely gift! I remember learning Joplin's rags (difficult and wonderful at the same time)on the piano when I took lessons as a youth. The music has always instantly evoked its era.
I read First Do No Harm as I'm a retired nurse and was attracted to the title. I read your bio with interest:I now write the Nora Tierney series, set in England, and a second one featuring nurse Trudy Genova, who works as a med consultant on soap operas. AND my dad was from Patterson, NJ!

Larry said...

Hi, Marni,
Thanks so much for writing. It's a small world, indeed.
Was your father's name Graff, and do you know the part of Paterson he lived in? I was in the Eastside section.
You do know that Hobart in FDNH was a fictionalized Paterson, yes? Do you know why I chose that name?
And oh, yes. My son-in-law's name is Graff. His family is from Wisconsin.