Ragtime ren­di­tions thrill au­di­ences at the Cas­tle

Talk of the Town - - Classified Advertisements - LOUISE CARTER

RAGTIME came alive, and thrilled the au­di­ence’s senses last Fri­day evening fol­low­ing another su­perb per­for­mance hosted by the Clas­sics at the Cas­tle at Rich­mond House.

Pro­fes­sional muso Liza Jou­bert took the au­di­ence on a ragtime jour­ney through time, start­ing off with a clas­si­cal ragtime piece, by Scott Jo­plin, who is revered as the “king” of ragtime. Maple Leaf

Rag is said to be ded­i­cated to a rowdy sports club, where Jo­plin com­posed the tune. The clas­sic was writ­ten and pub­lished in 1899 and has never been out of print and con­tin­ues to be re­garded among pi­anists as a clas­sic for time to come.

Jou­bert main­tained a tra­di­tional clas­si­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the piece and re­ceived roar­ing ap­plause from the au­di­ence.

With the cen­te­nary of Jo­plin’s death, Jou­bert said it was the most ap­pro­pri­ate time to play his mu­sic.

“Many peo­ple think he was the only one who wrote ragtime but that’s not true, he was one of many who com­posed and played,” Jou­bert said. “It is al­ways thrilling to come to a place where there is a full house.”

Hail­ing from Stel­len­bosch, Jou­bert has strong roots on both the in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal mu­sic scene. She was the first res­i­dent ac­com­pa­nist at the Beau Soleil Mu­sic Cen­tre in Cape Town, an ac­com­pa­nist at the Drak­ens­berg Boys Choir, a con­cert pian­ist on the MV Marco Polo lux­ury liner and has col­lab­o­rated with no­table mu­si­cians across the world.

Her spe­cial­i­sa­tion in ragtime, as well as South African pi­ano mu­sic, is well-known in­ter­na­tion­ally. Re­cently, Jou­bert fea­tured at the Gra­ham­stown Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val where she played the same pro­gramme as she did last Fri­day. Ragtime is ex­cit­ing and feels slightly re­bel­lious.

The ex­cite­ment comes from syn­co­pa­tion – the dis­plac­ing of the beat from its reg­u­lar and as­sumed course of me­ter, caus­ing a cer­tain level of ex­cit­ing ten­sion. The syn­co­pa­tion al­lows an in­di­vid­ual to feel a bit of swing, and mu­si­cal loose­ness, gen­er­ally not ac­com­pa­nied with clas­si­cal mu­sic.

The next piece, Jou­bert played was a more com­plex piece with con­trast­ing chords of “heav­i­ness” and “light­ness” of be­ing.

Ragtime Nightin­gale by Joseph Fran­cis Lamb had a sense of beau­ti­ful melan­choly to it. Jou­bert de­liv­ered a clas­si­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the com­plex, yet, colour­ful piece, which felt like it de­picted a move­ment from sad­ness to joy. Next on the playlist,

New Era Rag by James Scott sounds like a piece one would hear in a smoky un­der­ground bar in 1920. There was a more “glitzy” feel to the piece with a “call and re­sponse” type melody which is re­peated through­out the piece one oc­tave higher, al­low­ing for an in­ter­est­ing sense of ex­cite­ment and com­edy.

To fol­low was Sou­venir de Porto Rico (La Marche des Gibaro) by Louis Moreau Gottschalk. The mu­sic be­gins qui­etly and then rises to a dra­matic cli­max be­fore grad­u­ally dy­ing down.

The com­poser was born in New Or­leans well be­fore ragtime be­came pop­u­lar and lis­tened to “slave mu­sic” as he re­fined his mu­si­cal abil­ity. He trav­elled to the Caribbean and South Amer­ica where he ob­served and felt in­spired by the peas­ants work­ing in the fields and then en­joy­ing par­ties in their free time.

Sou­venir de Porto Rico makes use of these set­tings and de­picts Latin-Amer­i­can and Afro-Amer­i­can melodies and rhythms with each vari­a­tion, played louder and more rhyth­mi­cally com­plex.

Jou­bert played six fast-paced pieces from The Gersh­win Song­book by Ge­orge Gersh­win as well as The tides of Manau­naun by Henru Cow­ell, William Bol­com’s The Gar­den of Eden which com­prises four rags suites that tell a story of The Fall in ragtime style.

The evening con­cluded with another com­po­si­tion by Jo­plin, Rag-Time Dance-A Stop Time Two- Step, a piece which in­tro­duced a prac­tice called “stop time” (where the pian­ist stamps the heel of one foot heav­ily upon the floor when the “stamp” is in­di­cated in the score).

LOOK AT OUR NEW JUN­GLE GYM! The Port Al­fred High Pre-Pri­mary pupils re­turned from the hol­i­days to find a brand new jun­gle gym in their play­ground. Pupils, from left, Kei Kirsten, Inako Mbolekwa, Caiden Ket­tledas, Jack Aver­bach, Jed Thur­good, Zach de Wet Steyn and Wonga Maqond­wana proudly show it off. Teacher Melissa Tweedie said that the jun­gle gym had been built us­ing funds raised at the GBS Barn Dance held in the school hall ear­lier this year

FUN WITH OUR MEN­TORS: The Grade 7’s at Shaw Park Pri­mary en­joyed tea with the staff re­cently. From left are An­nette Laas, Liezel Wil­lows, Ella Funde, Zimkhitha Ponie, Mia Marais, Wor­ship Ka­mungore, Zubenan­thi Hlana, Colby Cockcroft and Eve Clay­ton

TOP OF THEIR CLASS: Placed first in their re­spec­tive grades for the year at the re­cent Port Al­fred High School prize-giv­ing were, from left, Chani Camp­bell (Grade 6), Lize-Mari Coet­zee (Grade 7), Nhea van der Merwe (Grade 5) and Rein­hardt le Roux (Grade 4)

Picture: LOUISE CARTER

MASTER OF RAG: Liza Jou­bert, a renowned mu­si­cian and spe­cial­ist in ragtime mu­sic thrilled guests at the Clas­sics at the Cas­tle last Fri­day evening evening with her ‘Spring into Ragtime’ playlist

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