Thank you to those who donated to Piano Society in 2017.

Botsford - The Bear and the Hyacinth

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by wiser_guy, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    System Software Engineer
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Last Name:
    Assimakopoulos
    First Name:
    Pantelis
    Two pieces from George Botsford's hit factory.

    The "Grizzly Bear Rag" written around 1910, became a dance craze along with the Turkey Trot and the Fox Trot. This rag introduced some dance motions that were somewhat forbidden until that day as it involved hugging! In fact its success was mainly as a song (lyrics written by Irving Berlin) before it was released in its instrumental rag version.

    The "Hyacinth Rag" is another example of Botsford's successful recipe for easily digested but infectious tunes. His instant hit, "Black and White Rag" apparently had influenced him more than anyone else, and so hyacinth follows the same path.

    Please don't look for ingenious compositional ideas or killer harmonies in these. As for most hits of this era, their musical value if any, lies in the engaging rhythm with eyes always on the dance floor.

    Enjoy the music.


    Botsford - The Grizzly Bear Rag

    Botsford - Hyacinth Rag
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,710
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Well, that was a nice way to perk up my cold and rainy morning. Nice job as usual, Pantelis. These are up.

    And I am wondering - do you play all these rags from memory? I ask this because when I play rags I have to look at my hands to get all the left-hand jumps. Otherwise, it's pretty messy.

    One more thing - are you planning on recording any more Botsford? That's three you have up in the various composer category now, but if you do more, then we should probably make a Botsford page (and you can write the bio :wink: ).
     
  3. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    Last Name:
    Vosgerichian
    First Name:
    George
    Great sense of musical style and rhythm. Grizzly Bear Rag sounds very Joplinesque. Very good recording quality too by the way. Are you recording at home?
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    Commenting on your recordings is so boring ! All I can ever say is "Excellent as always. Nobody does this better than you". Can't you just insert one wrong note or hickup so that we have something to nitpick ?
     
  5. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    System Software Engineer
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Last Name:
    Assimakopoulos
    First Name:
    Pantelis
    Monica, thanks for putting these up.
    Playing from memory is the only way to play ragtime (IMHO). Well, I play everything from memory. This is the only way for me to understand the music, otherwise I feel I'm just reading.
    As for the left hand jumps, I follow the hard but tested and proven method for accuracy. Dead slow practice until the hands 'chew' in. It takes time but I'm in no hurry. For demanding strides, I may have to practise the left hand separately. You know how beneficial this is for Chopin valses?

    I plan to do one more rag from Botsford. Although very successful as a composer, his rag collection is small. He mainly wrote songs and show music. I'll try to assemble a bio in the meantime.

    Thank you, George, for your kind words.
    Yes, I have reserved some space in my house and I call it the piano room. Nothing too ambitious, although I have become a kind of recording 'freak' over the last years, bleeding time and money.

    It would be a pity to slip over a three minute piece. After so much practice time devoted onto each, I can produce a clean take. I'm sure I'll get into trouble if I take on a larger work. Yet, there are things to nitpick, uneven volume at some points, subtle unintended accelerations. I know because I hear them although I have to compromise at some point with my current level of technique.
    Thanks for listening, Chris.
     
  6. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,028
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    High-school-teacher with subjects music and german
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Pfaul
    First Name:
    Andreas
    Hi Pantelis,
    it´s always a great pleasure to listen to your ragtime-recordings. Though I´m really not a ragtime-expert, I think, these ones are of a high quality, concerning the playing and the sound-quality.
    I think, your interpretation has the right tempo and expression. It flows well and the tempo is more on the moderate side, than being too fast. That´s very good IMO. When I have played ragtimes (only Joplin until now), I wanted them always play too fast, but I think, a moderate, jovial and somehow marching tempo is exactly the right tempo, so you can express all you want in this music.
    Have my congratulations to these excellent (CD-ripe) recordings!
     
  7. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,387
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Obamanation, unfortunately...
    Last Name:
    Grocholski
    First Name:
    Julius
    you are keeping Botsford's music alive with great recordings like this. Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    System Software Engineer
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Last Name:
    Assimakopoulos
    First Name:
    Pantelis
    Thank you so much for listening, Julius and Andreas.

    I totally agree with you on this, Andreas. You are right, 'tempo di marcia' should be the proper choice. But ... I have to confess that this is also my upper limit for these two pieces :oops: I can't play them faster without messing up. Convenient, isn't it?
    I have put my faith on Bach as a technique builder, maybe in the near future I'll be able to play these faster even if I continue to believe that a slower tempo fits better.
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,152
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    Hi Pantelis,

    I listened to both these rags and thoroughly enjoyed them. I don't know if you are simply a "natural" for this genre of piano music, or if you work very hard in your practicing, or both. But you alway manage to produce a performance that is evenly articulated, crisp, clean, having fine musicality, and that raises the spirits of your listeners. Your pianistic precision in these pieces is something that many of us only aspire to. Bravo!

    David
     
  10. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,028
    Likes Received:
    3
    Occupation:
    High-school-teacher with subjects music and german
    Location:
    Germany
    Last Name:
    Pfaul
    First Name:
    Andreas
    Wiser_guy wrote:
    That´s the best a pianist can do. For me the WTC f.ex. is like the Bible for the pianists. :wink:

    You play still very good, Pantelis. And I personally wouldn´t choose a tempo, of which I´m not convinced.
     
  11. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    System Software Engineer
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    Last Name:
    Assimakopoulos
    First Name:
    Pantelis
    I much appreciate your comments, David.
    I like to fully explore the pieces I take on and not stop practising until I reach a level that pleases me, technically and musically. This, of course, limits the number of pieces I put in my repertoire as it takes time. I would like to be a quicker learner, there are so many pieces I would love to play.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,927
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    I really don't see why you would want to play these faster ! If they sounded boring at this speed, you'd have a point. But they don't, so you haven't :wink:
     

Share This Page