As a young teenager simultaneously learning the mechanics of piano playing and falling in love with Ragtime, I would have benefited greatly by being introduced to easy-to-play authentic piano rags. Percy Wenrich’s 1908 Crabapples (or Crab Apples—the title is listed both ways in the original publication) is one such piece.
Crabapples is simple and repetitive, yet entertaining nonetheless: of particular interest are the left-hand counter-melodies (“bass breaks”) that occur in various forms in each section. The robust B section in A minor contrasts well with the dainty charm of the rest of the piece. Notable recordings of Crabapples are by Brian Keenan (YouTube) and Trebor Tichenor (Smithsonian Folkways’ Days Beyond Recall); the score is available at imslp.org.
Brandon Byrne is a ragtime composer, performer, and scholar. Max Morath said of Byrne, “Brandon’s unique compositions display unparalleled gifts and hidden virtuosity. His music reflects the past and challenges the future. His playing will touch your soul.” For a full list of his compositions, please visit his website.