If you can buy only one compact disc to serve as anintroduction to the music, the best may be A Ragtime Primer(PianoMania 123), which features ten different pianists. Itcovers the key composition styles (twenty-two tracks, taking thelistener from Folk Ragtime to New Ragtime) and includes notes byauthority Richard Zimmerman. Ragtime was usually published assolo piano works yet rags was often played by ensembles, so Ialso recommend the two-cd set A Century of Ragtime (Vanguard167-68). One compact disc in the set features piano ragtime; theother features orchestral ragtime.


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