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American Beauties - The Rags of Joseph Lamb / Virginia Eskin


Release Date: 05/23/2000 
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7495   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Joe Lamb, born in 1887, was the youngest of the great triumvirate of ragtime classicists. He was also one of the more improbable of ragtime composers. For starters, he was white, but, more significantly, he was not a performer. It was not the visceral excitement of hearing and playing ragtime in public places that attracted him to it, but rather the gentler experience of reading the sheet music and playing it in private. Thus his relationship to his art was more intellectual than practical. His roots were in the Metropolitan region, but his education took place about as far from the temples of sin as possible, at a Catholic boarding school in Canada. He eventually settled in Brooklyn, where he lived in relative obscurity,! earning a living Read more by selling dry goods in the city that never sleeps. Though it is evident from his music that he was not immune to contemporary influences, his quiet occupation insulated him from the vagaries of commercialism and popular taste, allowing him to develop his art in his own way and at his own pace.

The greatest influence on Lamb's artistic life was the music of Scott Joplin, especially hearing the enonnously popular Maple Leaf Rag. A chance meeting with his hero at the New York office of Joplin's publisher, John Stark, set the future course of his life. Joplin invited Lamb to play for him, and not only thrilled his young admirer by declaring Lamb's Sensation to be "a real, colored rag," but also helped convince Stark to publish it. Like Joplin, Lamb viewed ragtime as the vehicle for artistic expression, and, in a sense, it was Lamb who brought Joplin's ideals to fruition. Unlike Joplin, who strove to expand the idiom. Lamb concentrated on the existing form, imbuing it with ever-greater sophistication and refinement.

The "rediscovery" of ragtime in the late 40s refocused attention on Lamb and inspired him to create such late masterpieces as Cottontail Rag and The Alaskan Rag. Lamb died in 1960; a posthumous collection, Ragtime Treasures, was published in 1964.

Virginia Eskin, pianist, a faculty member at Northeastern University, and an NPR music- and talk-show hostess, has been instrumental in uncovering many hidden musical treasures, including a collection of rags by women composers entitled Fluffy Ruffle Girls. Here she gives us a broad selection of Lamb's music, from the Walper House Rag, which predates his exposure to Joplin, to the posthumous Ragtime Bobolink. Though Lamb's name appears regularly in various collections of rags, certain favorites—American Beauty Rag, Nightingale Rag, Sensation—tend to dominate. Meanwhile, there are no other discs devoted exclusively to Lamb listed in Schwann Opus, so the present disc—a reissue of Northeastern NR 257-CD—is doubly welcome for providing exposure to a number of rarely heard pieces as well as Eskin's informative original notes. The sound is clean and natural.

Eskin's graceful playing bespeaks her commitment to Lamb's music, but it is a tad more gentle than overlapping repertoire in recent collections by Scott Kirby on Viridiana and Morten Gunnar Larsen on Decca. Nevertheless, her performances are a splendid tribute to a true and often overlooked American beauty.

– George Chien, FANFARE [7/2000] Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Walper House Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2.
Alaskan Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 58 Secs. 
3.
Ragtime Reverie by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4.
Brown Derby no 2 by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
5.
Alabama Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
6.
Arctic Sunset by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
7.
Birdbrain Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
8.
Top Liner Rag "Cottontail Rag" by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
9.
Hot Cinders by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
10.
Ragtime Bobolink by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
11.
The Old Home Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
12.
Firefly Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
13.
Thoroughbred Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
14.
Toadstool Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
15.
Sensation by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
16.
Ethiopia by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1909; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
17.
Excelsior by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
18.
American Beauty Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
19.
Patricia Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
20.
Nightingale Rag by Joseph Lamb
Performer:  Virginia Eskin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  The Music Room, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 

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