Vincent 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.
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.