TURN-ONS AND TURN-OFFS IN CURRENT HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASES : ****Excellent ***Good **Fair *Poor : COMPACT DISCS

Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"Piano Rags by Scott Joplin." Nonesuch. As part of a welcome series of Nonesuch reissues, this landmark collection by Joshua Rifkin sounds as fresh as it did 13 years ago when, as three separate discs, it helped launch the ragtime revival. Here are 17 of those delicious rags, each exquisitely played in the style that Joplin preferred: not too fast, not too loud. If the performances lack wit (e.g., the omitted foot stomps in "Ragtime Dance"), there is a warmth and an understated virtuosity that elevates this set far above the competition. Rifkin's dreamy, Chopinesque "Bethena" alone is worth the price. ****

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