Fantasy: Spontaneous Lines —1989

Fantasy: Spontaneous Lines was commissioned by clarinettist Nathan Williams, who recorded it with Audrey Andrist on the Albany Records label.

Program Note

When I began writing this piece, I was attending the Aspen Center for Compositional Studies and taking daily hikes in the Rocky Mountains. I am certain that the splendor of nature inspired me to write this music. The following quote of Walt Whitman’s relates many of my feelings and thoughts about this composition.

Spontaneous me, Nature,
The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am happy with,
The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder,
The hillside whiten’d with blossoms of the mountain ash,
The same late in autumn, the hues of red, yellow, drab, purple,
and light and dark green,
The rich coverlet of the grass, animals and birds, the private
untrimm’d bank, the primitive apples, the pebble-stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments, the negligent list of one after another
as I happen to call them to me or think of them…


  1. extreme western frontiers
  2. unfamiliar terrain
  3. thrown into a world
  4. with nobody’s help (lost and badly wounded)
  5. opened to the fragility (slipping away)

Program Notes

Revolver began as a musical response to Jim Jarmusch’s haunting western “Dead Man”. The movement titles were drawn from an interview with Jarmusch about the film in which he describes it as “the story of a young man’s journey, both physically and spiritually, into very unfamiliar terrain. Thrown into a world that is cruel and chaotic, his eyes are opened to the fragility that defines the realm of the living. It is as though he passes through the surface of a mirror and emerges into a previously unknown world that exists on the other side.” For their guidance and support, many thanks go to the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Mike Fiday, and Tony LaSalle.


…its rhapsodic, constantly fluctuating melodies, rhythms and meters impart a feeling of improvisation and spontaneity. In the hands of a capable soloist, Maggio’s piece will be a work of power and expressivity.

Jerry L. McBride, MLA Notes