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King of RagtimeScott Joplin and His Era$
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Edward A. Berlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199740321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740321.001.0001

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Treemonisha, 1910–1911

Treemonisha, 1910–1911

(p.242) Chapter 15 Treemonisha, 1910–1911
King of Ragtime

Edward A. Berlin

Oxford University Press

In 1910, John Stark closed his New York office and returned to St. Louis. James Reese Europe formed the Clef Club for New York’s African American musicians and put them in the forefront for providing popular dance music. Joplin completed Treemonisha, the opera he had been working on since 1905, and, unable to find a publisher willing to issue the 230-page piano-vocal score, published it himself in May, 1911. Shortly before publishing, however, Irving Berlin, who was working with Ted Snyder and had seen or heard portions of Treemonisha when Joplin was trying to market it, published Alexander’s Ragtime Band, in which the verse resembles a theme from the closing number of the opera. Joplin told associates that Berlin had stolen the theme, but nothing came of his complaints. The American Musician and Art Journal gave almost a full page to a praising review of Joplin’s opera.

Keywords:   Treemonisha, James Reese Europe, Clef Club, Irving Berlin, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, American Musician and Art Journal, John Stark

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