Nov 29, 2011

David Thomas Roberts, Roberto Clemente; a "modern" ragtime

Bryan Wright performs"Roberto Clemente" of David Thomas Roberts

David Thomas Roberts performs "Roberto Clemente" of David Thomas Roberts
For more information about David Thomas Roberts, visit his website at:

Of David Thomas Roberts' best-known piece, the composer wrote the following for his recording from "American Landscapes" :

"Roberto Clemente" (1979). Roberto Clemente, the legendary right fielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates, was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico in 1934 and died on New Year's Eve, 1972 off the coast of his native island in a plane that never reached the Nicaraguan earthquake victims to whom it was carrying supplies. Although familiar with Clemente during his career, I was no more mindful of him than of some other outstanding ballplayers. It was the film about him shown during the 1979 World Series that transformed my image of Clemente into a myth to be recalled with affection. Incisively moved by this poetic series of glimpses of his career and the circumstances of his death, I had decided by the film's end that there must be a ragtime composition for Clemente, a piece evocative of the man as I had viewed him via the documentary.
I have referred to Roberto Clemente as a "folk elegy" and a "country funeral." Marked "warmly and solemnly," it is a rag forthrightly typifying the plaintiveness -- the gentle anguish, even -- that I have always associated with the lyrical medium of ragtime.


Some further convincing performances

The ragtime piano piece "Roberto Clemente" (composed by David Thomas Roberts) was performed by Bryan S. Wright at the Benefit Concert for Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief at the University of Pittsburgh on April 23, 2011.

The concert was titled "This Moment, Once in a Lifetime (一期一会)."


Bryan Wright - Roberto Clemente - David Thomas Roberts - 2009 Scott Joplin Festival

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