| This piece was published along with Last Train Home as my Opus 3. I owe my publisher a debt of gratitude for my favorite part of this piece, the ending.
Although I was never quite satisfied with the ending of the piece, I had signed the contract in April of 2002 that the Waldkauz Verlag would publish the pieces. After looking over the computer printout of the music that I had prepared, my publisher suggested that he reset the pieces, as he found my setting of them was not professional enough. OK. I could accept that - I am after all, no professional Note-Setter. So I sent him a printout of my version, with a couple of corrections of the fine points made by hand in pencil.
One year later, the pieces had still not been published. In addition, my discontent at having agreed to publish something with which I was not totally satisfied - the ending of the piece - was growing. About this time, I ran into my publisher at the annual Music Fair in Frankfurt. "Herr Youens! It is so good to see you!" I was mustering up the courage to ask him if he would possibly consider not publishing the ragtimes after all, as I did not have a good feeling about the ending. But he spoke first: "Your ragtimes are ready!" He showed me a stack of who-knows-how-many copies, and was curious to hear my reaction.
So I looked over a copy. And I couldn't believe what I was seeing: I saw my hand-made corrections in pencil staring me in the eye. It turns out that he had decided that my "setting" was professional enough, after all. And because he had not noticed the very small corrections I had made in pencil, he had already had them reproduced. So now we had a problem - the music had already been published, but I wasn't about to sell music of mine with my pencil-doodles on it. So we agreed that he would make new copies of the music. And here's the good part: a couple of days later it finally occured to me how the ending of the piece should be, and since he was going to use my setting of the music after all, I was able to go home, recompose the end of the piece, look it over again a few hundred times, make sure no pencil markings were there, and send it in again for publishing. All's well that ends well.
As for why the piece is called Second-Hand Shoes...no idea.
dedicated to my Mamu,
Margarit Roberta Arrant Poulter
A Rag Time Two Step
W. Brett Youens, 2001
Opus 3, No. 2
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