Revolver —1996

Inspired by Jim Jarmusch’s haunting western film, Dead Man, Revolver was commissioned and premiered by the spectacularly talented Meridian Arts Ensemble.


  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 phy sically 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 l iving. 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.


The world premiere of ‘Revolver’ by Robert Maggio was a winner, a five- movement piece inspired by Jim Jarmusch’s film ‘Dead Man.’ Its first three movements ranged from concert band flourshes to a tuba-horn dialogue over softly treading drums to a fast ostinato in the horn under an array of jazzy rhythms.

But the final two movements transcended that: a slow dead march gradually gaining momentum in both dynamics and tempo as a satisfying, arching crescendo, then closing with a muted conversation in which rhythmic and elemental intervallic figures were passed around the ensemble. The drums eventually overpowered the talk, only to drop out and end pretty much as it started.

Herman Trotter, The Buffalo News, March 8, 1997