Tag: Uncategorised

#SaturdayStamps: Scott Joplin

Joplin spent his childhood in northeastern Texas, though the exact date and place of his birth are unknown. By 1880 his family had moved to Texarkana, where he studied piano with local teachers. Joplin traveled through the Midwest from the mid-1880s, performing at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Settling in Sedalia, Missouri, in 1895, he studied music at the George R. Smith College for Negroes and hoped for a career as a concert pianist and classical composer. His first published songs brought him fame, and in 1900 he moved to St. Louis to work more closely with the music publisher John Stark.

Joplin published his first extended work, a ballet suite using the rhythmic devices of ragtime, with his own choreographical directions, in 1902. His first opera, A Guest of Honor (1903), is no longer extant and may have been lost by the copyright office. Moving to New York City in 1907, Joplin wrote an instruction book, The School of Ragtime, outlining his complex bass patterns, sporadic syncopation, stop-time breaks, and harmonic ideas, which were widely imitated. Joplin’s contract with Stark ended in 1909, and, though he made piano rolls in his final years, most of Joplin’s efforts involved Treemonisha, which synthesized his musical ideas into a conventional, three-act opera. He also wrote the libretto, about a mythical black leader, and choreographed it. Treemonisha had only one semipublic performance during Joplin’s lifetime; he became obsessed with its success, suffered a nervous breakdown and collapse in 1911, and was institutionalized in 1916.

Joplin’s reputation as a composer rests on his classic rags for piano, including “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer,” published from 1899 through 1909, and his opera, Treemonisha, published at his own expense in 1911. Treemonisha was well received when produced by an Atlanta, Georgia, troupe on Broadway in 1972, and interest in Joplin and ragtime was stimulated in the 1970s by the use of his music in the Academy Award-winning score to the film The Sting.

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Chocolate Vent’s Quote of the Week: “REFUSE TO REVISIT WHAT YOU CANNOT REVISE.”

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 3:13-14}

 

#SaturdayStamps: A. Philip Randolph

A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), a respected and outspoken proponent of the rights of minority labor.  He was greatly feared by his opponents, not because of his temperament, but because of his power to create change.  He was named Vice-President of the AFL-CIO in 1957. Randolph was also the founder of both the March on Washington Movement and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which helped organize African-American labor. In 1963, he helped organize the famous march on Washington where the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech.

Chocolate Vent’s Quote of the Week: “LET GOD PUT SOME ‘SUPER’ ON YOUR ‘NATURAL’.”

You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” {Isaiah 36:16-17}