love•bird —2005

A tour-de-force “knuckle buster” of a piece, love•bird was commissioned by Drs. Barbara and Leonard Frank for the Kimmel Center’s Fresh Ink Series titled “Mozart Reloaded.” Pianist Charles Abramovic played the premiere brilliantly.

Program Note

love•bird is the last of four variations by different composers on Papageno’s “Bird catcher” Aria from The Magic Flute. It was commissioned by the Kimmel Center for their Mozart: Reloaded program in 2006.


It was left to Robert Maggio’s Love bird to best fulfill Clearfield’s mission of a “musical adventure’”of Mozart’s music, forging tonal structures that were both unexpected and riveting. Maggio frequently scores contemporary ballet, and that influence was heard here. Rich melodic arabesques and picturesque passages broke away to crowded basso phrases and maniacal keyboard runs. There were segments where Abramovic reached over and played the piano’s metal strings (actione?) with his hand. This was an eerie effect that drew you into Maggio’s dramatic structure even more.

Lewis Whittington, Broad Street Review, February 1, 2006

Following the intermission, Ms. Clearfield announced “Four piano compositions based on Papageno’s Birdcatcher’s Theme from The Magic Flute. Each was commissioned by a local patron and performed with aplomb and finesse by pianist Charles Abramovic, a faculty member of Temple University and a fine accompanist and recording artist who is a musician of the highest caliber. Without going into detail about each composition, listed below in the Program Notes, they represented a potpourri of contemporary music, each taking off on the Mozart motif in a distinctly different way. The final piece, “Love-bird by Robert Maggio incorporated jazz syncopation and thematic material reminiscent for me of Gershwin and of the French composer, Francis Poulenc.

Victor L. Schermer,, February 5, 2006