David Thomas Roberts • Poplarville

David Thomas Roberts’ peripatetic nocturnal contemplation of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the late 1970’s inspired some of his most touching works, including Poplarville (1979). The rising melodic phrase in measures 9-11 of the A section is one of the most poignant passages in Roberts’ entire oeuvre. Roberts has always been carefully intentional in his choice of keys. The mauve bittersweetness of Poplarville’s A and B sections is due in part to their D minor/F major tonality. The restatement of the subdued C section (in B-flat major) becomes exultant after a habanera-like bridge (in G minor).

The piece’s parent folio Ragtime Compositions Volume 2—containing pieces like The Early Life of Larry Hoffer, For Kansas City, and Mississippi Brown Eyes—is one of the most formidable collections of Ragtime music available and receives my emphatic recommendation; it and Roberts’ other work can be purchased at dtrstore.com.

Red Wood Coast

Brandon Byrne Ragtime Piano Composition
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Brandon Byrne is a ragtime composer, performer, and scholar. Max Morath said of Byrne, “Brandon’s unique compositions display unparalleled gifts and hidden virtuosity. His music reflects the past and challenges the future. His playing will touch your soul.” For a full list of his compositions, please visit his website.

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