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Three Rags

for two pianos - eight hands

Year:  2011   ·  Duration:  7m 30s

Year:  2011
Duration:  7m 30s

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Audio

Sample: 0'00" - 1'00" (II)

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Sample Audio

Sample: 0'00" - 1'00" (III)

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Sample Audio

Sample: 0'00" - 1'00" (I)

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Sample Score

Sample: pages 1-3 of each movement

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Ragtime, with its syncopations, has always been a popular form of early jazz. The music of Scott Joplin is particularly well-known especially after his piece The Entertainer achieved world-wide prominence as a piece of film music. These three pieces were written and/or arranged for an enterprising group, The Estrella Quartet. Four fine young pianists formed the group as a unique way of completing chamber music studies at Auckland University. In 2010 I had written Tui for them, and this was followed in 2011 with Ghost Dance. Following these two serious pieces I was keen to write them something lighter, and these three rags are the result.

The first two pieces are arrangements of music written about 25 years earlier. Those Ragtime-Caravan-Blues was originally a piece for three violins and horn written for students I knew while attending a Cambridge Music School. This annual summer music school ran for forty years, ceasing in the late 1980s, and drew a diverse range of musicians from those professionally involved with music to those who simply enjoying the experience of making music with others. The summer school included a composition section which I attended several times.

The second piece was originally incidental music for the play Mister Bones and Mister Jones (by Eve Hughes). This play was mounted by students of Epsom Girls’ and Auckland Grammar Schools in 1985, and I wrote a number of short instrumental and vocal pieces for the production.

The final piece, The Estrella Rag was newly written for this set in 2011. It ends with a wild restatement of the opening music at a faster speed, and a final accelerando brings the work to the noisy and frantic close.

Difficulty note

Suitable for advanced pianists

Dedication note

Written for the Estrella Quartet