Apple Charlotte Rag
Composer: David P. Jones
Duration: 5:30 min.
In 2010, a very dear woman, Charlotte (“Char”) Zyskowski passed away. She was the wife of a good friend and colleague of mine, Marty Zyskowski, who was for many years the Professor of Percussion Studies at Eastern Washington University. Marty is a very talented percussionist, conductor and teacher. Anyone who knew Char realized that food and cooking was a great passion of hers, and she was a highly skilled chef (also a warm and wonderful person).
I wanted to memorialize Char in a rag (a style of music she enjoyed) and to make it a percussion work (for Marty). So, in the tradition of some of the great Joplin rags that incorporate a rich harmonic vocabulary, sultry melodies, and a sense of graceful melancholy, I came up with this work.
It is not groundbreaking in terms of form: AABBACCDD (just like many of the classic rags). Also, in keeping with the tradition of rags going back to “Maple Leaf Rag”, the tonality moves to the subdominant in the “B” section and I save the juiciest bits for the final section. However, the harmonic world of this composition is quite a bit more complex than the average Joplin rag, tending slightly toward Wagner and Mahler. Above all it is a highly lyrical work.
It is not an easy piece for solo marimba, but it is meant to be idiomatic for the instrument, rewarding for the performer, and a sonic treat for the listener.
RIP Charlotte … we all miss you.
David P. Jones
Marimba (5-octave), with ossia notes when using a “low-F”
About the composer +
David P. Jones was born on February 10, 1958 in Stockton, California. A former member of the music faculty of Eastern Washington University, he holds a D.M. in Composition from Indiana University, a M.M. in Composition from New England Conservatory, and a B.M. in Composition from the University of Washington. His principal composition teachers have been Don Freund, Eugene O'Brien, Malcolm Peyton, William Bergsma, and William O. Smith. He has also studied jazz with David Baker, Ernie Wilkins, and James Knapp. He joined the faculty of Peninsula College in 2008.
The music of Dr. Jones has received over 300 performances in Paris, Stockholm, Osaka, Quebec City, New York, Boston, Miami, Cleveland, St. Paul, Seattle, San Antonio and many other locations in France, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Canada, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Brazil, Venezuela, and the USA. His music has also been featured at many festivals and conferences, including: Tanglewood, Korsholm Music Festival (Finland),Manchester Music Festival (Vermont), New England Music Camp, Society of Composers, MENC, College Music Society, NACWPI, International Trumpet Guild, International Horn Society, International Trombone Association, and the Percussive Arts Society.
Performers have included St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (conducted by Dennis Russell Davies), Seattle Symphony, New England Conservatory Symphony (Robert Spano), Indiana University Symphony, Virginia Intercollegiate Band, New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble (Frank Battisti), Eastman Trombone Choir (John Marcellus), University of Minnesota Trombone Choir, University of Washington Trombone Choir, Bob Curnow Big Band, Indiana University Jazz Ensemble (David Baker), University of Iowa Jazz Ensemble (John Rapson), University of Missouri-Kansas City Jazz Ensemble (Bobby Watson), Cornish College Jazz Orchestra, Marimolin, Marimbolino, Duo Contrastes, PercuDuo, Boston Trombone Quartet, Spokane String Quartet, Le Quatuor Habañera, Ron Barron, Mike Tunnell, Doug Wright, Tim Hudson and many others. Commissioning organizations include Carolina Brass, Seattle Flute Society, Spokane String Quartet, Composers and Improvisers Orchestra, Eastern Washington University, Peninsula College, and Washington State Music Teachers Association. His works are published by Edition Musicales Combre, Gérard Bilaudot Editions (Paris), C. Alan Publications,Radnofsky Couper Editions, Walrus Music and Sierra Music (USA); and recorded on Catalyst/BMG, Nosag (Sweden), Polymnie (France), Summit, Centaur, and Coronet. His music has been broadcast on radio stations throughout the US and in France, Sweden and Australia.
Dr. Jones was named "Composer of the Year" in 1995 by the Washington State Music Teachers Association and has received First Prize in competitions sponsored by Marimolin, International Horn Society, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Friends and Enemies of New Music, and New Music for Young Ensembles. He has also received awards from Vandoren Concours International de Composition pour Saxophone, Concorso Intenazionale di Composizione per Banda di Corciano, Abraham Frost Prize for Composition, International Association for the Promotion of the Saxophone, International Trombone Association, Virginia Symposium for New Band Music, as well as fellowships from Artist Trust (1988) and the Washington State Arts Commission (1985).
Active as a dance accompanist for over 25 years, he has worked with Patricia McBride, Violette Verdy, Fernando Bujones, Bruce Wells, Elaine Bauer, Paul Sanasardo, Bill Evans, Mary Anthony, Margaret Jenkins, Ann Reinking, Brenda Buffalino, David Dorfman, Seán Curran, and members of the Martha Graham Dance Company, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, and Twyla Tharp Dance Company. He also performed with, and wrote for, the Bob Curnow Big Band from 1996-1998 and his big band charts are currently in the repertoire of over fifty bands across the US and in England.
Percussive Notes, November 2016
Dedicated to a dear friend with a passion for cooking, “Apple Charlotte Rag” shares the same richness as the famous dessert of the same name. Set in the style of the great Scott Joplin rags, composer David P. Jones has written a wonderful addition to the solo marimba repertoire.
As Jones states, “It is not groundbreaking in terms of form,” but the piece is a breath of fresh air musically. The melodic content is sultry and sweet, and the harmony progresses smoothly and with ease. “Apple Charlotte Rag” is idiomatic, but it still requires a performer who is comfortable with advanced marimba technique, including quick one-handed rolls, independent strokes, chromatic fluency, and contrapuntal independence between each hand. The proper style of any ragtime piece is crucial to realization and this is no exception. Thorough study of the Joplin rags and being comfortable with classic ragtime or Missouri style is essential to achievement of this piece.
As with Jones’s other works for marimba, “Apple Charlotte Rag” provides a challenge that is rewarding for the performer and, as Jones states, “a sonic treat for the listener.” This piece is well suited for a senior or graduate student, or a professional looking for something that is accessible and musically stimulating.
Front Cover Graphics: Gaia Gomes
Engraving: Johan Svitzer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
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