Review


Various
Great American Rags Volume 1:

Arranged by Terry L. Baldridge

Trombone or euphonium and piano

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2022
URL: http://www.cherryclassics.com

Score and parts.

Genre: SOLO MATERIALS

Great American Rags, Volume 1 is a collection of four rags arranged for trombone or euphonium and piano by Terry Baldridge. Baldridge was a long-time musicology and ethnomusicology professor at MidAmerica Nazarene University. His interest in World Music extends also to vernacular music here in North America. All of these relatively obscure rags were published as piano sheet music around the turn of the 20th century. Baldridge turns the right hand of the original piano part into a trombone part.

The four rags that Baldridge chooses for this collection are “Dance of the Hoo-Hoo” by Emma Suckert. (What does “Hoo-Hoo” mean you ask? In the 1890s a group of lumbermen in the Midwest organized a society named The Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo. It still exists today.) The second arrangement, “The Dixie Queen,” by Robert Hoffman. He is the most prolific and successful of the composers in this collection. This is my favorite rag of the four. The last two rags are “Funny Folks” by William Polla and “Fuzzy Wuzzy” by Frank Keithley.

The trombone parts are an appropriate challenge for an intermediate level player. They stay mostly within the bass clef staff; the highest note is a2.  The music is stereotypically ragtime: angular melodies and syncopated 16th note motion. The forms are modular. Each middle section modulates to the sub-dominant key. The exception is the arrangement ofFunny Face” which begins in G minor and modulates to the relative major.

Great American Rags will bring enjoyment and profit to young trombone players. The challenges of playing ragtime will encourage growth. They will make excellent recital pieces, bringing delight to performer and listener alike.

 

Reviewer: Paul Overly
Review Published July 20, 2022