This Friday, October 8, at 7:00 p.m., Tony Kieraldo launches his new album, Hudson Ragtime Piano Suite, with a concert at Hudson Hall. Kieraldo has composed a rag for each of the east-west streets in Hudson--Allen, Union, Warren, Columbia, and State.
Syncopated Times describes the rags in this way:
There are five new rags here, each inspired by and named for a Hudson street. Allen Street Rag is stately, befitting the beautiful mansion homes that line it, once inhabited by Hudson's high society. Union Street rag is a sea shanty inspired piece. Looking back on the city's whaling history, it has a looser movement to it. Warren Street Rag is the most Joplinesque of the five, teasing Maple Leaf Rag. It is named for the city's Main Street, which was renamed Warren Street in 1799, though the Warren so honored is lost to history. With this rag Kieraldo attempts to connect the past and present as Warren Street has again become the bustling center of Hudson with new restaurants and drinking establishments opening even during the pandemic.
Diamond Street Rag gets right to the roots of ragtime, honoring what was once Hudson's red light and "colored" district, too close to the slaughterhouses and tanneries for respectable folk. Home to both brothels and middle class Black congregations the work opens with a theme that instantly recalls a rough and tumble blues den but later calls up images of a proud promenade, and closes with a festive dance or, as he puts it in the notes, police breaking up the party. (Diamond Street was renamed Columbia Street in the 1920s to distance itself from the reputation it had acquired.)
State Street was a working class district known for breweries where many of the slaughterhouse workers lived. The State Street Rag closes the collection with an attempt to encompass the modern diversity of the area by introducing the most complex set of melodies heard.
Kieraldo's performance of the rags will be peppered with filmed interviews with such Hudson folk as Reverend Ed Cross, former mayor Dick Tracy, local historian Ken Sheffer, and me, The Gossips of Rivertown, sharing history and memories and stories about the streets. The History Room at the Hudson Area Library has also provided archival images of each street which will be projected on Hudson Hall's cinema-sized screen.
The album and the accompanying songbook will be available for purchase at the event. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.