Rags Under Quarantine

Despite society’s abstinence from live music events in 2020, interesting Ragtime compositions were written during the Covid-19 pandemic, a testament to the music’s enduring appeal. Kristen Mosca’s Quarantine Rag is simple and joyful. Martin Spitznagel’s To the Max is a stately Classic-style work dedicated to Max Morath. My favorite recently composed piano rag is Richard Egan’s darkly poignant F minor Strains Written During a Pandemic, its long, sparingly syncopated sixteenth note melodic lines are reminiscent of Scott Joplin’s The Chrysanthemum. On the stylistic periphery, Ladyva’s Quarantine Boogie is also noteworthy.

All of these works—plus the many pieces of Cameron Lee Simpson—can be heard and seen on YouTube. Nineteen year old Zach Franklin has an especially bright musical future; his Baltic Rag is heavily influenced by James Scott and Joseph Lamb. Scores for Franklin’s compositions can be viewed and downloaded at https://musescore.com/user/27112279. Long live syncopation!

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Brandon Byrne Ragtime Piano Composition

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.

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