Oct 20, 2005
at 8:39 PM
Today I've learned about one of the funniest musical pieces ever.. The Russian Rag.
George Cobb, a composer from the beginning of the century, claimed that he can turn any piece of music into Ragtime style (which is famous for syncopated off-beat rhythms). While sitting in a famous restaurant in New York in 1918 (Jade?), a friend of his challenged him to turn Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-minor to ragtime. George didn't think long. He got up, went to the piano, and played what became known as the "Russian Rag". Unknown to him, Rachmaninoff was in the restaurant at the time. He walked slowly towards the piano. As Cobb finished playing, he turned around to see Rachmaninoff standing right in front of him. Cobb almost had a heart attack, as Rachmaninoff said "nice melody, but the rhythm is all wrong" :-)
Listen to the original Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-minor here
Listen to George Cobb's Russian Rag here
(I'm still looking for a midi of the New Russian Rag. Please let me know if you find it.)
I found another attempt to rag'ize the prelude here. But it's not as good.
I've just started learning about Jazz music. (The course starts with an intro to Ragtime & Blues). This is turning into a very interesting experiment. I didn't think that Jazz is this much fun.