Six Rags

By Lewis Spratlan | For Solo Piano | 17′

Title: Six Rags
Composer: Lewis Spratlan
Year Composed: 2018
Instrumentation: For Solo Piano
Duration: 17′

Format: Full Score
Page Size: Letter
Catalog Number: OM0435

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From the composer:

Each of these six pieces is linked with a prominent geographical feature in New England. The
first three are tied to notable locations in the Mahoosuc Mountains, a 30-mile chain, largely
above tree-line, running diagonally from New Hampshire into Maine, and found just to the
north of the Presidentials, home of Mount Washington, in the White Mountains. The second
three rags celebrate prominent features in Western Massachusetts.

    Goose Eye Mountain, one of the two highest peaks in the Mahoosucs, is a perfect cone, and
    rises, Matterhorn-like, from a long bare ridge. It seems always to have its own wisp of clouds
    hovering just above.
    Speck Pond was formed when boulders became lodged in the ends of a cleavage in the ridge,
    creating a bowl that subsequently filled with water. It is an anomaly, lying far higher than any
    other body of water in the area. It is perfectly placid and crystal clear, allowing one to gaze
    into its considerable depths unimpeded.
    Mahoosuc Notch is, notoriously, the most difficult mile on the Appalachian Trail. It is an abrupt, narrow tear in the ridge, descending thousands of feet, and filled with car-sized boulders and ice caves that give off veils of condensation, even in midsummer.
    Mount Greylock is Massachusetts’s highest mountain. This rag takes us from its base to the
    tower at its summit, equipped with a blinking beacon.
    Pelham Lake is a small body of water in the town of Rowe, Massachusetts, that has a beach of
    trucked-in sand, playground equipment, canoes, and kayaks. It is family friendly, but ringed
    with dark, high spruces and firs.
    Chesterfield Gorge is a miniature Grand Canyon carved by the Westfield River. Its wild rapids
    are rimmed by towering granite cliffs. It is dark for most of the day.
    The sense of the various locations provides the main tissue of each piece, with ragtime music
    woven into the fabric, sometimes generating notes used at large, sometimes self-contained.
    This music stands for the human beholder in nature.

Commission/Dedication: Composed for and dedicated to Nadia Shpachenko.
Premiere: On June 18, 2019 at the Center for New Music, San Francisco by Nadia Shpachenko.
Recording: This work is recorded on an all-Spratlan Reference Recordings album, Invasion: Music and Art for Ukraine, performed by Nadia Shpachenko. For all listening options, click HERE.

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