William Bolcom's 3 ghost rags: an orchestration for chamber ensemble with commentary on the history and propagation of ragtime

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The purpose of this project is twofold: to contribute to the literature of chamber ensembles comprising mixed wind, string, and percussion instruments by producing arrangements of three piano rags by

The purpose of this project is twofold: to contribute to the literature of chamber ensembles comprising mixed wind, string, and percussion instruments by producing arrangements of three piano rags by William Bolcom; and to highlight Bolcom's pivotal role in the ragtime revival of the 1960's and 1970's. Through his influence as a scholar, composer, and performer, Bolcom (b. 1938), one of the most prominent American composers of his generation, helped garner respect for ragtime as art music and as one of America's great popular music genres. Bolcom's 3 Ghost Rags were written in the tradition of classic piano rags, but with a compositional sensibility that is influenced by the fifty years that separate them from the close of the original ragtime era. The basis for the present orchestrations of 3 Ghost Rags is the collection of instrumental arrangements of piano rags published by Stark Publishing Co., entitled Standard High-Class Rags. More familiarly known as the "Red Back Book," this publication was representative of the exchange of repertoire between piano and ensembles and served as a repertory for the various ragtime revivals that occurred later in the twentieth century. In creating these orchestrations of Bolcom's piano rags, the author strove to provide another medium in which Bolcom's music could be performed, while orchestrating the music for an historically appropriate ensemble.