Red Envelope Rag

Vincent Matthew JohnsonVincent Matthew Johnson (pictured) is one of the most accomplished Ragtime composers alive; though young, he has already written several masterpieces in both Classic and Novelty styles. A handful of his works are decidedly eclectic.

Red Envelope Rag brims with the excitement and spectacle of a Chinese New Year celebration. The piece is named for the traditional exchange of red-colored packages of money as a gesture of goodwill during festivities. The expectedly pentatonic melody sparkles; Johnson doubles it in octaves and fifths. Parallel chords—triads in the B section and dominant sevenths in the C section—are festive splashes of color.

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Red Envelope Rag is pianistically difficult, yet performed very well by Max Keenlyside on Invincible Syncopations (BSW-2241), available at rivermontrecords.com. The scores for the pieces featured on Invincible Syncopations can be purchased directly from Vincent Matthew Johnson for $35 at P.O. Box 1065, Monterey Park, CA 91754.

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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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