These pieces are all of the genre known as “classical ragtime” and were hand-played by myself. The MIDI selections were recorded on a Yamaha Disklavier and converted to MIDI format using software developed by Giebler Enterprises. The MP3 selections were recorded live; Scott Helmke was the recording engineer for most of them.
Select any title below to listen to or download it.
New in 2007!
Hand-Played Rags (2007)
My CD, issued in April, 2007. A sampler of ragtime-era piano solos, featuring tunes by Adaline Shepherd, Scott Joplin, Scott Hayden, Joseph Lamb, David Guion, W. H. Krell, Harry P. Guy, and William Christopher O'Hare. For further information, click here.
Pickles and Peppers (1906) [mp3]
Adaline Shepherd's rousing tune, performed at the Old Time Piano Playing Contest in Peoria, Illinois, May 2006.
Bohemia Rag (1919) [mp3]
This great piece was the last Lamb rag published during his lifetime. The performance also is from the 2006 Peoria contest.
The Alabama Slide (1915) [midi]
Obscure but delightful, like many of the rags by this prolific Kansas City composer. The theme of the trio section is so fetching that I play it a third time, as a forte finale.
Sunburst Rag (1909) [midi]
A sunny composition from Scott, who along with Scott Joplin and Joseph Lamb is considered to be one of the “big three” ragtime composers.
Pearl of the Harem (1901) [midi]
Detroit composer Guy subtitled this “An Oriental Two-Step.” The bass line alternates between oriental-sounding repeated fifths and octaves, and the traditional ragtime “oompah” bass.
The Entertainer (1902) [midi]
This wasn't a major seller in 1902, but became a huge hit some seventy years later when it figured prominently in the score to the movie The Sting.
Texas Fox Trot (1915) [midi]
A most remarkable piece whose slow and moody nature belies its title. Contemporary in feel, it sounds like it could have been composed last year.
Golden Spider Rag (1910) [midi]
Another catchy “march and two step” by Johnson.
Prosperity Rag (1916) [midi]
A bouncy Scott tune, reminiscent of his better-known “Grace and Beauty”. An unusual feature: The second strain is repeated as the finale, with the chromaticism in the left hand replaced by a more traditional “oompah” bass.
Sensation Rag (1908) [midi]
The first published rag by this member of the ragtime “big three”. I depart from the printed score by playing the third strain one additional time, as a finale.
Cottonfield Capers (1901) [midi]
Ragtime Oriole (1911) [midi]
Scott's “bird” rag. Listen to the little creature twittering and flitting about.
Bethena (1905) [mp3]
This beautiful “concert waltz” is one of Joplin's finest creations. (Note: This recording replaces an earlier one of the same piece that I posted here. I feel that the newer recording captures a significantly better performance.)
Contentment Rag (1915) [mp3]
A highly contrapuntal rag, with the bass line carrying melodies of its own.
Something Doing (1903) [mp3]
A perfect “classical rag” by Joplin and his protege Hayden.
Dixie Twilight (1903) [mp3]
Johnson is one of my favorite ragtime composers, in case you hadn't figured that out already. This “characteristic march” features a particularly lovely B section.