Notes from the arranger
Here are the first set of published works in my new collection: they are my favourite encores and I’ve been asked many times by harpists where they could obtain them. I discovered them almost by accident and am grateful to David Hellewell, the composer of the original piano pieces, for his kindness, permissions and assistance. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
ABOUT THE RAGTIMES
CHICKEN-PICKIN’ RAG Op.28 1976 Duration: 3’45
CHICKEN-PICKIN’ RAG is a jolly ragtime piece, written in 1976, brought up to date to include modern funky music and various other sections. In the heyday of classic ragtime, in the late 19th century, the publicity said that “brokers forgot their cares” on hearing the music! The piece opens with a little sentimental intro, leading into the main tune marked Spikily. This is followed by the next section marked Cheekily, and then another section marked Funky!. Then follows a contrasting section marked Cantabile – a gentle song-like passage. This is followed by a complete contrast, a hot dynamic passage marked Freaky!. After some contrasting passages, the piece ends with a Freak-out! and a final Chuck! Chuck!, like a chicken call.
KENTUCKY RAG Op.33 1976 Duration: 1’40
In the ‘Blues Grass’ county they have horse and trap races with their high-stepping, elegant horses; this atmosphere is what this rag evokes. The piece should be played not too fast (a plea cautioned by an early king of ragtime, Scott Joplin!), but prim and refined, with a sprightly bass like a dancing, high-stepping horse. There is a lovely little hidden counter-melody in the bass in section [B]; try the left hand on its own and you will hear it. The last two bars are a typical bit of Country and Western-type scale and harmony.
PLASTIC CAKEWALK Op.14 1973 Duration: 2’00
The PLASTIC CAKEWALK is another ragtime piece brought up to date by the composer (hence the ‘Plastic’ in the title). A Cakewalk was a popular ragtime piece performed by a waiter who danced holding up a plate of cake.
This is a bright and lively piece of several contrasting sections: but there are also many blues and funky phases incorporated in the piece, which would not be present in the classic ragtime music of the day. The piece closes with a few broken fragments, and a bright ending.