Rave Reviews for Brian Dykstra’s ‘Rags’
29 original compositions available on Centaur label
Brian Dykstra’s “Neo-Ragtime,” a collection of new “rags” for piano solo and chamber ensembles on a double-CD set, is receiving rave reviews from classical music critics. Released earlier this year on the Centaur label, “Neo-Ragtime” consists of 29 original Dykstra compositions, 27 of which feature him on the piano.
Dykstra, emeritus professor of music at The College of Wooster, where he taught for 38 years (1969-2007) including 14 years as department chair and still teaches piano part-time in the Department of Music, says his “neo-ragtime” style draws essential characteristics from the classic ragtime style of the 1897-1917 period, particularly the rags of Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb, and James Scott.
Critic Lynn René Bayley, in a review in this summer’s Fanfare magazine, described Dykstra’s melodies as a cross between the ragtime idiom and the cool jazz of the early 1950s, adding that “Centaur has scored again with yet another surprising rose in its growing bouquet of releases.”
Barry Brenesal, in the same issue of Fanfare, characterized Dykstra’s work as “great ragtime by a modern composer who is also an excellent piano advocate of his wares,” while Robert Schulslaper said “Neo-Ragtime” provides “delightful entertainment in a perennially vital style.”
The “Neo-Ragtime” disc set, which includes such selections as “Cordova Rag,” “The National Pastime,” and “Old Powell Rag,” is available at The College of Wooster’s Florence O. Wilson Bookstore in Lowry Center (1189 Beall Ave.), through the label’s website, and at amazon.com, as well as the Severance Hall Gift Shop in Cleveland.