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Bric-a-brac: Ricky Ian Gordon Sings Ricky Ian Gordon

Gordon,Ricky Ian
Release Date: 03/08/2011 
Label:  Blue Griffin   Catalog #: 221   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



GORDON Bric-A-Brac Rocky Ian Gordon (voice, pn) BLUE GRIFFIN 221 (68:20 Text and Translation)


This is the second volume of songs written and sung by Ricky Ian Gordon (b.1956). I reviewed the first in Fanfare 34:2, and I won’t go into as much detail here, as my opinion remains largely the same (very positive), though perhaps aspects have deepened with sustained encounter.


Gordon is Read more prodigiously talented. In this collection I am even more struck by the combination of lyric grace with harmonic invention that makes his songs quite memorable, and often bittersweet (I find myself thinking at times of an updated Rodgers and Hart). I hasten to add that not all the songs’ lyrics are original. Gordon has a keen eye and ear for lyrics by poets like Edna St. Vincent Millay and Dorothy Parker, whose sharp metric and rhyming sense cry out for music.


Several songs stick in my memory. In particular: “My Mother is a Singer,” a poignant paean to the composer’s mother and her sacrifices; “The Different Albertines,” an extended number from a Proust musical (written with Richard Nelson) that evokes late 19th-century French music artfully, and without quotation or facile imitation; and “We Will Always Walk Together,” a love-hymn written in honor of his partner, Jeffrey Michael Grossi, who died of AIDS in the late 1990s. Gordon is an unabashed romantic, and what in other hands could easily become mawkish or pandering becomes inspiring, even transcendent. (I’ve been thinking about the fact that so many great American love songs come from gay composers, and the old saw that perhaps their sense of passionate yearning comes from the “impossible” nature of homosexual love. Even if there were something to this, it seems ever less relevant or even possible, as increasing numbers of heterosexual relationships are based on bonds other than procreation, and simultaneously increasing numbers of gay unions include children. Gordon’s open sexuality doesn’t in any way compromise the power or universality of these songs’ message.)


For the record, Gordon’s voice is not the sort of music-theater instrument many will be used to. It’s pleasing and naturalistic, and he’s got a great ear for diction and delivery. But it can be a little ragged toward the top, and there can be some intonation issues in that region as well. For me this is well worth the price of authenticity it bequeaths on the production, and those issues for me are minor. But some purists may take offense. You know who you are.


Gordon is firmly in two camps—American music theater, and the American tonal art song. In the latter, there are several for which I could just press the “infinite repeat” button, examples being Rorem’s “The Lordly Hudson,” Carter’s “Voyage,” and Bernstein’s “There Is a Garden.” I’m not sure if Gordon’s work on this disc rises to that bar, but it’s close. The one composer of his generation to whom I now regularly compare him is John Musto, who comes more from the classical side, while Gordon is more from music theater. But they both project an enviable combination of music talent with a deep humanistic compassion for their subjects, which makes what they express valuable to us all.


FANFARE: Robert Carl
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Works on This Recording

1.
Bric-A-Brac, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
2.
Recuerdo, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
3.
Pont Mirabeau, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 5 Minutes 24 Secs. 
4.
The Spring and the Fall, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
5.
Interior, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
6.
Friend, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
7.
Just Now, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
8.
Lullaby, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
9.
Three Leaving, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
10.
The Different Albertines, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 6 Minutes 4 Secs. 
11.
Beat Me a Crown, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
12.
Fewer Words, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
13.
We Will Always Walk Together, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
14.
My Mother is a Singer, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 29 Secs. 
15.
Fried Dough, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
16.
Kid in the Park, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
17.
Threnody, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
18.
Question, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
19.
Home Is There, for voice & piano by Ricky I. Gordon
Performer:  Ricky Ian Gordon (Voice), Ricky Ian Gordon (Piano), Ricky Ian Gordon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 

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