I was practicing piano yesterday when Earl stopped by.
“You can’t possibly use the pedal when your legs are crossed,” he said. (I didn’t know he had that much musical knowledge.)
“I’m playing a sonata by Clementi. It doesn’t call for pedaling,” I replied. (At the same time, he’s right. Real pianists don’t cross their legs.)
“Clementi,” Earl repeated. “Is that Roberto?” I looked confused.
“Played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for seventeen years,” Earl rattled off. “Was an All-Star. He’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
I couldn’t help it. I rolled my eyes.
“No,” I said. “It’s Muzio, born in the eighteenth century; composer, pianist, and piano manufacturer. He never held a baseball bat. Any serious piano student comes ‘round to playing his work.”
“Better not cross your legs then,” Earl the baseball aficionado replied as he returned to his office.
For the record, Muzio Clementi died at the age of eighty years old and is buried at Westminster Abbey. He has been called the “Father of the Pianoforte.” Roberto Clemente, born in Puerto Rico in the twentieth century, died in a plane crash while he was still playing for the Pirates. He was 38.
Each contributed mightily to his respective profession.