Graceful Ghost Rag (Bolcom)Graceful Ghost Rag (Bolcom)
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Graceful Ghost Rag (Bolcom)

arranged for mallet sextet by Stephen Primatic
Level: Medium
Duration: 4:40
State Lists: Missouri | Texas
Release Date: 2016
Delivery Method: Physical
Product ID : TSPCE16-012
Price: $25.00
Item #: TSPCE16-012

Formats Available:



Description

William Bolcom composed Graceful Ghost as one of three “ghost rags” for piano in the early 1970’s. Written in memory of his father, it is now considered his most famous work. In this adaptation for intermediate mallet sextet, Stephen Primatic sensitively crafts the original into a colorfully scored ensemble.

Full of flowing syncopation, elegant melodies, and gentle minor harmonies, it’s not your typical ragtime piece. While indeed graceful in spirit, it has a wistful longing and class that sets it apart. Played at a moderate tempo, the rhythms can be played straight or swung. Either way, this adaptation is likely to leave audiences with a smile on their face and the catchy tune embedded in their memories.

Graceful Ghost Rag ships in a professionally printed folio which includes individual parts on CD-ROM.

Instrumentation

  • Glockenspiel
  • Xylophone
  • Vibraphone
  • 2 marimbas—(1) low A, (1) low C*

*Shared

Reviews

This lovely arrangement from William Bolcom’s “Three Ghost Rags” is a delightful addition to the chamber percussion repertoire. Clocking in a 4:30, “Graceful Ghost Rag” offers intermediate percussionists the chance to experience performing ragtime music in a relaxed, restrained style, and gives the ensemble the opportunity to experiment and learn about balance and implement selection.

The piece is structured in three contrasting sections, with the first section returning at the end. In each section, the tempo and general style remain the same, but the orchestration changes to add color and depth to the piece. I particularly like the orchestration of the glockenspiel, xylophone, and vibraphone throughout the piece, as they each takes turns playing main melodic material as well as acting to color the other instruments. Stephen Primatic has done an excellent job keeping the melody of the piece interesting throughout the arrangement. 

“Graceful Ghost Rag” also offers younger percussionists the chance to start experimenting with mallet choice and drawing multiple timbres from one set of implements. In each of the main melodic instruments (glock, xylo, vibes) the players have ample time to make color changes or mallet changes to best highlight their changing roles. Keeping the glockenspiel and xylophone on the “muted” side seems to work best based on the general character of the piece, and percussionists will relish the opportunity to make more musically-based decisions as opposed to reaching for their standard or preferred set of mallets. 

Technically, the parts are all manageable by freshman/sophomore college students, again allowing them to spend a majority of their time focused on musical sounds and textures as opposed to learning a lot of notes. “Graceful Ghost Rag” is a wonderful arrangement that would work well as a “palate cleanser” between longer works in a percussion ensemble concert.

-Justin Alexander

Percussive Notes

Vol. 55, No. 2, May 2017

Description

William Bolcom composed Graceful Ghost as one of three “ghost rags” for piano in the early 1970’s. Written in memory of his father, it is now considered his most famous work. In this adaptation for intermediate mallet sextet, Stephen Primatic sensitively crafts the original into a colorfully scored ensemble.

Full of flowing syncopation, elegant melodies, and gentle minor harmonies, it’s not your typical ragtime piece. While indeed graceful in spirit, it has a wistful longing and class that sets it apart. Played at a moderate tempo, the rhythms can be played straight or swung. Either way, this adaptation is likely to leave audiences with a smile on their face and the catchy tune embedded in their memories.

Graceful Ghost Rag ships in a professionally printed folio which includes individual parts on CD-ROM.

Instrumentation

  • Glockenspiel
  • Xylophone
  • Vibraphone
  • 2 marimbas—(1) low A, (1) low C*

*Shared

Reviews

This lovely arrangement from William Bolcom’s “Three Ghost Rags” is a delightful addition to the chamber percussion repertoire. Clocking in a 4:30, “Graceful Ghost Rag” offers intermediate percussionists the chance to experience performing ragtime music in a relaxed, restrained style, and gives the ensemble the opportunity to experiment and learn about balance and implement selection.

The piece is structured in three contrasting sections, with the first section returning at the end. In each section, the tempo and general style remain the same, but the orchestration changes to add color and depth to the piece. I particularly like the orchestration of the glockenspiel, xylophone, and vibraphone throughout the piece, as they each takes turns playing main melodic material as well as acting to color the other instruments. Stephen Primatic has done an excellent job keeping the melody of the piece interesting throughout the arrangement. 

“Graceful Ghost Rag” also offers younger percussionists the chance to start experimenting with mallet choice and drawing multiple timbres from one set of implements. In each of the main melodic instruments (glock, xylo, vibes) the players have ample time to make color changes or mallet changes to best highlight their changing roles. Keeping the glockenspiel and xylophone on the “muted” side seems to work best based on the general character of the piece, and percussionists will relish the opportunity to make more musically-based decisions as opposed to reaching for their standard or preferred set of mallets. 

Technically, the parts are all manageable by freshman/sophomore college students, again allowing them to spend a majority of their time focused on musical sounds and textures as opposed to learning a lot of notes. “Graceful Ghost Rag” is a wonderful arrangement that would work well as a “palate cleanser” between longer works in a percussion ensemble concert.

-Justin Alexander

Percussive Notes

Vol. 55, No. 2, May 2017



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