|Scott Joplin: Piano Rags|
CD re-release cover (artwork as on the LP)
|Studio album by|
Scott Joplin: Piano Rags is a 1970 ragtime piano album, consisting of compositions by Scott Joplin played by Joshua Rifkin, on the Nonesuch Records label. The original album's cover states the name as Piano Rags by Scott Joplin, as contrasting the album's spine. The record is considered to have been the first to reintroduce the music of pianist and composer Joplin in the early 1970s. It was Nonesuch Records' first million-selling album.
Rifkin provides a brief history of ragtime music, a biographical sketch of Joplin, and musical analysis of his compositions. He notes, "The awakening of interest in black culture and history during the last decade has not yet resurrected Joplin and his contemporaries, who remain barely known beyond a growing coterie of ragtime devotees. Yet it offers a perfect opportunity to discover the beauties of his music and accord him the honor that he deserves."
The album was released in November 1970 and sold 100,000 copies in its first year and eventually became Nonesuch's first million-selling record. Record stores found themselves for the first time putting ragtime in the classical music section. The album was nominated in 1971 for two Grammy Award categories: Best Album Notes and Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra). The Billboard "Best-Selling Classical LPs" chart for 28 September 1974 has the record at #5, with the follow-up "Volume 2" at #4, and a combined set of both volumes at #3. Separately both volumes had been on the chart for 64 weeks. In 1979 Alan Rich in the New York Magazine wrote that by giving artists like Rifkin the opportunity to put Joplin's music on record Nonesuch Records "created, almost alone, the Scott Joplin revival."
In January 1971, Harold C. Schonberg, music critic at The New York Times, having just heard the album, wrote a featured Sunday edition article entitled "Scholars, Get Busy on Scott Joplin!" Schonberg's call to action has been described as the catalyst for classical music scholars, the sort of people Joplin had battled all his life, to conclude that Joplin was a genius.
Nonesuch reissued the album on CD, with nine additional tracks.
Nonesuch followed up the album with Scott Joplin: Piano Rags, Vol. II and Scott Joplin: Piano Rags, Vol. III, both featuring Rifkin.