The discovery of the yellow metal at Sutter's Mill in California's
Sacramento Valley in 1849 was only the beginning of subsequent gold-rushes
to occur in the state. Gold-Rush Rag was written to commemorate
all of the California gold rushes from past to present -- not only for
the precious metal, but for all the opportunities that California has offered.
This work is dedicated to the Sacramento Valley Symphonic Band, conducted
by Dr. Lester E. Lehr.
Note to the Conductor
Gold Rush Rag must be played at the marked tempo, with plenty
of enthusiastic exuberance and pep. All eighth-notes must be straight and
even, true to the authentic Arthur Pryor ragtime band tradition. Players
must agree on points of accents, and syncopations should be neither rushed
nor lagging. A total vertical rhythmic agreement must be achieved, as well
as dynamic certainty.
Emphasize the bass drum beats with lower instruments at measure 10.
The snare drum player should be instructed in the proper execution of crushed
rolls to successfully negotiate his or her part.
At measure 22 the 1st cornet plays 8vb first time only (as indicated
in the score and part). 2nd and 3rd cornet as well as drums enter at measure
37 for a second-time-only part. Triangle and tambourine join bells in the
melodic rhythm at measures 24-25, 26-27, 28-29, and 32-33, both times.
After a slight crescendo at measure 34, the climax of the strain
is achieved in measure 35, with the remainder of the strain taking on a
more leggiero character.
In the introduction to the trio at measure 30, be certain to
contrast the legato character of the first two measures with the
heavily marcato character of measures 41-42. A lyrical theme in
unison begins at measure 43, which is repeated after a brief break strain
at measure 76. The extended first ending includes a marcato section,
based upon the introduction. The trio enters its final repetition
at measure 82 with the trombones' glissando into the Bb7 chord.
The final repetition should be played at a full forte, but never
louder than the break strain fortissimo. 2nd and 3rd cornet and
1st and 2nd trombone play afterbeats in this section -- keep their bells
pointing downward, toward their music stands, to prevent an over-shadowing
of the sustained french horn parts. The oboes reinforce the flutes upon
repeat; if no oboe is present the part should be played by a C melody saxophone.
Maintain a well-separated and almost staccato first strain, always
punching out the notes with enthusiasm and pep. The momentum is maintained
with the upper and lower instrument contrasts in the second strain, and
is reinforced by the introduction to the trio. Do not lose the drive and
zeal at the lyrical trio -- the rag must keep its momentum even though
it has become more legato. The break strain must not sound out of place,
but should remind us that the tempo and pep are ever-present.
Instrument Notes: A deep-throated, dark snare is preferred. The bass
drum head should be fairly tight, struck with a hard felt mallet. Wooden-tipped
bell mallets should be used for the mp dynamics of the second strain
and trio, and should be replaced by metal mallets upon repetition
at forte levels.
I emphasize the use of cornets, rather than trumpets, and a preferred
ratio of two woodwinds to one brass for best results.