Scott Joplin is best remembered as a composer of ragtime, writing at least 45 pieces in this genre. The five waltzes in this book were first published between 1896 and 1909, and are often found in bigger anthologies of his solo piano music. The content of this collection in full is: Binks’ Waltz, Pleasant Moments, The Augustan Club Waltz, Bethena and the Harmony Club Waltz. To produce this edition, Wolfgang Birtel has gone back to the first editions of these pieces, fixed a few printing errors, and added some dynamics to match those already indicated in the score. Pedalling indications are included, fingering is not, and notation has been left ‘as in the original’.
The pieces are not particularly challenging technically, and should be accessible to most Grade 7 or 8 pianists. Indeed, perhaps the reason they have not reached wider circulation is that they are not hard enough for the concert platform! Although the waltzes have not attracted as much attention as some of his other works, don’t let this put you off. A piece such as Bethena, subtitled ‘a concert waltz’ (effectively featured in the film adaptation of Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt), will surely succeed in disarming you with its simple yet heartfelt melody. In sum, this is an edition of these pieces that is as clear and as easy to read as you could ask for.
Pianist Magazine, novembre 2011