Euphonic Sounds (1909)
Composed by Scott Joplin
Transcribed for Wind Quintet by Don Stewart
Published by Trillenium Music Company
Includes score and parts
Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, Horn in F, and Bassoon
In 1909, Scott Joplin was still considered the “king” of Ragtime, but he was no longer the celebrity he had been around 1902 or 03. He had settled in New York during 1907, thinking that he needed to be close to the emerging pop music publishing industry. What he now wished to create was in many ways more mature and complex than his earlier music. And, he had already begun work on what was to become his opera Treemonisha. In fact, his music at this time was a new departure, an elaboration derived from an American style he and only a few others had invented. From this year of energy and high hopes came Euphonic Sounds. Here Joplin demonstrates that Ragtime no longer need rely on the 'oompah' bass, and that the style could accommodate swinging polyrhythms.
Euphonic Sounds is a difficult piece for pianists, and not often included when groups of other rags are played. The great James P. Johnson did, and incorporated his own 'shout' additions. He thought that, “Joplin was a great forerunner, fifty years ahead of his time.” Perhaps so – Treemonisha wasn't heard until the 70's.
This transcription was done in 1973, and immediately took a featured place in the repertoire of the Boehm Quintette. As an encore or as a program piece, it has great weight and presence. Many of Joplin's earlier pieces have been done for wind quintet, but Euphonic Sounds is especially excellent for this ensemble. We're pleased to make this new edition available.