Scott Joplin: Piano Rags

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Scott Joplin: Piano Rags
Scott Joplin Piano Rags.jpeg
CD re-release cover (artwork as on the LP)
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 1970
LabelNonesuch Records

Piano Rags by Scott Joplin is an album by Joshua Rifkin, consisting of ragtime compositions by Scott Joplin, released on the Nonesuch Records label in 1970. The original album's spine and various compact disc reissues render the title as Scott Joplin: Piano Rags.[1] The record is considered to have been the first to reintroduce Joplin's music in the early 1970s, initially gaining critical recognition and later commercial success after several of Joplin's compositions were featured in the 1973 film The Sting. It became Nonesuch Records' first million-selling album.


Track listing[edit]

  • Side One
  1. "Maple Leaf Rag " (1899) (3:13)
  2. "The Entertainer" (1902) (4:58)
  3. "The Ragtime Dance" (1908) (3:13)
  4. "Gladiolus Rag" (1907) (4:24)
  • Side Two
  1. "Fig Leaf Rag" (1908) (4:38)
  2. "Scott Joplin's New Rag" (1912) (3:07)
  3. "Euphonic Sounds" (1909) (3:53)
  4. "Magnetic Rag" (1914) (5:11)

Album notes[edit]

Rifkin provides a brief history of ragtime music, a biographical sketch of Joplin, and musical analysis of his compositions. He notes, "The awakening of interest in black culture and history during the last decade has not yet resurrected Joplin and his contemporaries, who remain barely known beyond a growing coterie of ragtime devotees. Yet it offers a perfect opportunity to discover the beauties of his music and accord him the honor that he deserves."


The album was released in November 1970 and sold 100,000 copies in its first year and eventually became Nonesuch's first million-selling record.[3][4] Record stores found themselves for the first time putting ragtime in the classical music section. The album was nominated in 1971 for two Grammy Award categories: Best Album Notes and Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra).[5] The Billboard "Best-Selling Classical LPs" chart for 28 September 1974 has the record at #5, with the follow-up "Volume 2" at #4, and a combined set of both volumes at #3. Separately both volumes had been on the chart for 64 weeks.[6] In 1979 Alan Rich in the New York Magazine wrote that by giving artists like Rifkin the opportunity to put Joplin's music on record Nonesuch Records "created, almost alone, the Scott Joplin revival."[7]

In January 1971, Harold C. Schonberg, music critic at The New York Times, having just heard the album, wrote a featured Sunday edition article entitled "Scholars, Get Busy on Scott Joplin!"[8] Schonberg's call to action has been described as the catalyst for classical music scholars, the sort of people Joplin had battled all his life, to conclude that Joplin was a genius.[9]


Chart (1973) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 58


Nonesuch reissued the album on CD, with nine additional tracks.[11]

Follow-up albums[edit]

Nonesuch followed up the album with Scott Joplin: Piano Rags, Vol. II and Scott Joplin: Piano Rags, Vol. III, both featuring Rifkin.[12]


  1. ^ Scott Joplin: Piano Rags, Joshua Rifkin, piano, vinyl LP, 1970, Nonesuch Records stereo H-71248
  2. ^ "Saul Lambert, 81, artist/illustrator". Archived from the original on 2012-07-28.
  3. ^ "Scott Joplin Piano Rags Nonesuch Records CD (w/bonus tracks)". Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  4. ^ "Nonesuch Records". Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  5. ^ "Entertainment Awards Database". LA Times. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
  6. ^ Billboard magazine 1974, p. 61.
  7. ^ Rich 1979.
  8. ^ Schonberg, Harold C. (24 January 1971). "Scholars, Get Busy on Scott Joplin!". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
  9. ^ Waldo (1976) p. 184.
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 252. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ CD reissue at Nonesuch Records website
  12. ^ Scott Joplin: Piano Rags, Vol. III, Joshua Rifkin, piano. Nonesuch H-71305, 1974