Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente (1979). Of David Thomas Roberts' best-known piece, the composer wrote the following for his recording from American Landscapes '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 end of the film 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.

Sheet music available.

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