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"Grande Rag Brillante" for piano Op. 15

By Gary Noland

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Piano Solo - Advanced - Digital Download
Composed by Gary Noland. 20th Century, Contemporary Classical, Post-Romantic, Ragtime, Recital. Score. 49 pages. Published by Freeland Publications (S0.269267).

Item Number: S0.269267

Duration: ca. 15-18 minutes (1989). By contemporary classical music standards, a "hit" of sorts.

Here are some reviews, testimonials, etc. written about it: “4 OCTOBER 1991: KPFA radio in Berkeley, California, dedicates its newly constructed, two-story broadcast facility at 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way with a live satellite broadcast … works on the inaugual program, produced and narrated by KPFA Music director Charles Amirkhanian, included … Grande Rag Brilliant [sic] by Gary NOLAND, a 15-minute rag introducing KPFA’s new Yamaha Disklavier grand piano, featuring fugues, frozen grace-notes to produce tone clusters, and a lengthy passage in which the music modulates up and down a half-tone each measure (“the turntable change of speed effect”) …”—Nicolas Slonimsky, Music Since 1900

"...remarkable stuff..."—Max Morath, ragtime composer and pianist

"… smashing and extremely difficult piano rag, … which is not distracted by the modulation-per-minute insanity of this beautiful and disorienting music … an exceedingly difficult composition by Berkeley composer Gary Noland, … the Grande Rag Brillante, Op. 15, was written in a modified turn-of-the-Century style and has never been performed successfully by a human pianist. It features something Mr. Noland calls the 'record-player-turntable-change-of-speed-effect.' In certain sections, each successive measure modulates up a half step into the next key signature, providing a mind-bending spiraling of focus which is truly breathtaking … spectacular… "—Charles Amirkhanian, Folio (KPFA program guide)

"...The Impossible Rag..."—Oakland Tribune

"...perfectly simulates a piano roll mistracking and continually changing keys..."—Dick Zimmerman, Rag Times

"...masterpiece!...We recommend Mr. Noland's music for anybody who desires the witty and unexpected approach to the Ragtime idiom."—L. Douglas Henderson, ARTCRAFT Studio Newsletter, Wiscasset, Maine

"...Ihre Musik ist wunderschön, "Grande Rag Brillante" ist ein Meisterwerk; als auch Komponist bin ich voll Neid, dass ich so etwas nicht schreiben kann. Ich wünsche Ihnen viel Erfolg! Ich komponiere schon viele Jahre europäisch tonal und es itst nicht leicht, so zu komponieren in einer Welt, die noch in der atonalen Ideologie denkt. Ich hoffe, Ihr Weg wird leichter...."—Ladislav Kupkovic, Czech-born composer residing in Germany

“Sort of like it ... electronicized ... ; then it becomes a real period piece, like Richard Taruskin’s theory about current HIP practitioners ...”—William Bolcom, Pulitzer prize winning composer.

"...Gary Noland's music is complex, technically daunting stuff....'Grande Rag Brillante'... seems to be meant as an excercise in psychedelic ragtime piano, full of extremely fast passages, confusing modulations, and bizzare dissonance...."—Butch Thompson, The Mississippi Rag

"...KPFA Music Director Charles Amirkhanian plans to use the new Disklavier to showcase the talents of numerous contemporary composers currently using computer technology in their work, including John Adams and Dr. Gary Noland, whose Grande Rag Brillante, Op. 15, was played by the Disklavier during the new building's opening festivities on October 4th. This fascinating 15-minute piano work is technically impossible to play by hand, and was specially arranged through the use of a Macintosh computer to play on this instrument....”
—Jim Callahan, "Yamaha Disklavier Piano," Folio (KPFA program guide)

"Tape Cassettes which should be in your Music Library!...The tapes listed below are exceptional recordings, ones that Mr. Henderson has played over and over, discovering something new with each replay. They have our highest recommendation!...Weknow you will enjoy these superlative recordings!...RAGS by GARY NOLAND, a custom-made tape featuring Noland's compositions on the digital piano, the Disklavier and 'real' piano. His 46-page Opus 15, GRANDE RAG BRILLANTE, is featured. Creative, unusual music! ARTCRAFT learned about this composer after reading a magazine article in which the writer openly suggested that Mr. Henderson should make rolls of his work! The pieces have shifting tonality and shocking syncopations!"—L. Douglas Henderson, 1991 Supplement for the "Fall 1990" ARTCRAFT MUSIC ROLLS Catalogue, Wiscasset, Maine

"...Gary Noland, whose Grande Rag Brillante, digitalized because it was too fast for human fingers, launched KPFA's new edifice in 1991...."—Rocky Leplin, "Ligeti takes a bow at UC-Berkeley," Berkeley Voice (and other Hills Publications).

"I'll never get it up to tempo, but I'd like to try Grande Rag Brillante which I heard on KPFA today....I loved it...”—Dorothy Bryant, novelist

“… The Disklavier piece on the 8:00 concert [“A New Music Séance” sponsored by Other Minds in San Francisco] was Gary Noland’s epic Grande Rag Brillante (1979, rev. 1989), an enormous rag with humorously sudden and bizarre modulations and shifts. Noland also flexed his compositional muscles with an intricate fugue.…”—Jonathan Russell, San Francisco Classical Voice

“Just about any modern rag is hard to play. Contemporary ragtime composers like Bill Albright, Bill Bolcom and Gunther Schuller put musical considerations well before any consideration for the piano player. The most difficult ragtime piece of all time is Gary Noland's 'Grande Rag Brillante'. So far nobody has successfully learned to play it. Also it's 15 minutes long and virtually impossible to fit into a program, other than a classical piano recital. The audience needs to have Attention Hyperabundance Disorder. (It's fine if (like me) your idea of a nice short little piece is a tone poem by Richard Strauss.) … The second most difficult may be the original manuscript of "Twelfth Street Rag" with right-hand octaves jumping all over the place.”—Mark Lutton, pianist

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