HomeMusicMax Morath, Pianist Who Staged a One-Man Ragtime Revival, Dies at 96

Max Morath, Pianist Who Staged a One-Man Ragtime Revival, Dies at 96


Reviewing that collection for The New York Times, Jack Gould wrote: “In an unusual combination of earthiness, emphasised by his chewing of an enormous cigar and carrying of loud vests, and erudition, mirrored in his educated commentary on music and the social forces that affect its expression, he presides over an exquisite rag piano and lets go.”

The collection was purchased by business stations, enormously increasing Mr. Morath’s viewers. He was quickly juggling recording dates, faculty gigs (some 50 a yr), and live performance and membership bookings. He additionally crafted one other NET collection, “The Turn of the Century” (1962): 15 installments that associated ragtime music to its social, financial and political interval, utilizing lantern slides, images and different props.

With its wider focus — on life in America from 1890 to the Twenties — “The Turn of the Century” was a runaway success. In addition to being seen in syndication on business tv, it grew to become a one-man theatrical present. Mr. Morath offered it on the Blue Angel and the Village Vanguard in New York, introduced it to the Off Broadway Jan Hus Playhouse in 1969 after which toured nationally for a few years.

“In a two-hour jaunty tour, Morath offers us a have a look at the 30-year interval that spanned the time of McGuffey’s Reader, ladies’s suffrage, the grizzly bear dance, Prohibition, authorized marijuana and Teddy Roosevelt,” The Washington Post mentioned when Mr. Morath opened at Ford’s Theater in 1970. “It was a time of sweeping adjustments within the ethical local weather of our nation, and Morath makes use of common music, mainly ragtime, because the centrifugal power for checking out the totally different phases.”

As the ragtime revival surged into the Seventies, it was given momentum by the musicologist Joshua Rifkin, who recorded a lot of Scott Joplin’s work for the Nonesuch label in 1971, and by the success of George Roy Hill’s Oscar-winning movie “The Sting” (1973), starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as con artists, which featured Joplin’s “The Entertainer” on the soundtrack.

Mr. Morath appeared on “The Bell Telephone Hour,” “Kraft Music Hall,” “Today,” “The Tonight Show” and Arthur Godfrey’s radio and tv applications. A collection of Morath productions — “The Ragtime Years,” “Living the Ragtime Life,” “The Ragtime Man,” “Ragtime Revisited,” and “Ragtime and Again” — opened Off Broadway and had been adopted by nationwide excursions.

Content Source: www.nytimes.com


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