This work—co-written with Scott Hayden in 1901—has continually been one of Scott Joplin’s most popular pieces. Many fine recordings exist of Sunflower Slow Drag. Richard Dowling’s—on his The Complete Piano Works of Scott Joplin CD set—is easy to miss, being sequestered at the end of disc 2. Don’t sleep on it; it is an authoritative performance of great verve.
It is also an up-tempo one, a minute quicker than most other interpretations. Subito piano and subito legato passages contribute to the excitement. Special acknowledgment should be given to producer and sound engineer Bryan Wright for capturing the luminosity of the piano’s tone. The Complete Piano Works of Scott Joplin can be purchased at rivermontrecords.com (BSW-2240). Sunflower Slow Drag—as well as Scott Joplin’s other works—can be downloaded in .pdf form at imslp.org.