Robert Maggio: Riddles
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR870     Release Date: 2001-01-01
Robert Koenig, piano; Scott St. John, violin; Bart Feller, flute; James Stern, violin; Nathan Williams, clarinet; Audrey Andrist, piano; Colette Valentine, piano; Daniel Grabois, horn; Tara Helen O'Connor, flute; David Fedele, flute


There was a time, not too long ago, when the very concept of "tradition" was suspect among younger composers. Never mind the fact that by mid-century the avant-garde itself was becoming a tradition, with its own taboos, diktats, and establishments-composers were urged to be original, at all costs. And originality meant invention. It was often measured in terms of particular innovative techniques and notations, in advances in formal thinking, or in aesthetic concepts. (And in the postmodern era, things really haven’t changed. Now the very denial of originality, through appropriation, pastiche, and ironic commentary, can become a new shibboleth that cuts a composer off from deep sources of historical inspiration as surely as might the strictest modernist precepts.)

But being original is tough to do when one tries so consciously. It’s a little like trying not to think about the word "rhinoceros." One can’t force originality, one can only cultivate it. It’s a function of personality, which deepens and matures at its own rate, often frustratingly slow in a culture that values only immediate success and superficial virtuosity.

Robert Maggio is a composer who is carefully cultivating his own form of originality, and he is doing it by linking with a very specific American musical tradition.

There is a continuing strain of American music whose core values might seem contradictory at first. On the one hand, it is highly lyrical and tonal. On the other hand, it has never been afraid of complexity and individual expression. Of course, these values were never seen as paradoxical until mid-century, and most of the great music which has survived the twentieth century securely (including Stravinsky, Bartók, and Schoenberg) partakes of them. In America, such composers as Ned Rorem, David Diamond, Samuel Barber, and Leonard Bernstein have mined this rich vein. Their music, to which Maggio is an heir, proposes to the listener that tunes still matter; that imagination and fantasy can be manifested in both the minute details of a composition and its broad expressive curve; that popular sources can be transformed by learned techniques; that harmonic invention can be grounded in tonal sources and still remain fresh; that clarity of expression is no inhibitor of a richly textured, even emotionally ambiguous, vision.


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

Various Artists

Robert Maggio: Riddles

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Duo Concertante: I. Aggressive-Rhapsodic-Belligerent
Robert Maggio
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Duo Concertante: II. Tender, conciliatory-Intimate, intense
Robert Maggio
Buy
Duo Concertante: III. Largo, maestoso-Seething, incisive-Belligerent-Cantabile-Tranquil
Robert Maggio
Buy
Fluano Pianute: I. bounce-minimalize
Robert Maggio
Buy
Fluano Pianute: II. floatupspace-meditate
Robert Maggio
Buy
Fluano Pianute: III. izimantime-musical box
Robert Maggio
Buy
Fluano Pianute: IV. beditate-mounce
Robert Maggio
Buy
Fluano Pianute: V. musing boxical-spoatupflace
Robert Maggio
Buy
Riddle: I. A Ring That Has No End?
Robert Maggio
Buy
Riddle: II. A Baby with No Cryin'?
Robert Maggio
Buy
Divide: I. Low
Robert Maggio
Buy
Divide: II. High
Robert Maggio
Buy
Divide: III. Divide
Robert Maggio
Buy
Phoenix: I. ...consuming itself in fire...
Robert Maggio
Buy
Phoenix: II. ...rising renewed from the ashes...
Robert Maggio
Buy