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Bright Eyed Joy: The Songs of Ricky Ian Gordon

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    The CD of this album is available to purchase at ArkivMusic.

    Bright Eyed Joy: The Songs of Ricky Ian Gordon is the first disc devoted entirely to the music of Ricky Ian Gordon, a composer equally at home writing for the concert hall, opera, dance, theater and film, and whose music, “with its references to Debussy, Ravel and Britten crossed with Bernstein, Blitzstein and Sondheim," says the New York Times, "has an unexpected emotional potency in light of its compositional rigor.” The songs on this new recording are set to texts by James Agee, Langston Hughes, W.S. Merwin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, and Gordon, and feature such acclaimed vocalists as Audra McDonald, Dawn Upshaw, Adam Guettel, Judy Blazer, Theresa McCarthy, Chris Pedro Trakas and Darius de Haas, with orchestra conducted by Eric Stern.

    The disc opens with “Heaven,” sung by Darius de Haas, a song Gordon had originally written to open Only Heaven, a musical celebration of Langston Hughes’s poetry through Harlem of the 1920s and '30s. The lyric is, according to the composer, “just one more wonderful Langston Hughes brush stroke—the simplest, most literal evocation of heaven imaginable.” Among the other Hughes settings included on the disc are “Dream Variations,” “Song for a Dark Girl,” and “Daybreak in Alabama,” all written for Audra McDonald and originally released on her Nonesuch debut, Way Back to Paradise.

    On Bright Eyed Joy: The Songs of Ricky Ian Gordon, Gordon also sets the poetry of W.S. Merwin in “A Contemporary,” sung by Adam Guettel, as well as texts by the legendary Dorothy Parker, in whose memory Gordon composed the 1992 operetta Autumn Valentine. Gordon’s own text, in the song “Run Away,” recalls a particularly difficult time in the composer’s life. It is sung here by Theresa McCarthy, who premiered it during a cabaret appearance at New York’s Joe’s Pub in 1998.

    A March 13, 2001, showcase performance of Gordon’s songs, featured vocalists Judy Blazer, Kristin Chenoweth, Adam Guettel, Cherry Jones, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Billy Porter, among others, was presented as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series.

     

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Eric Stern, conductor

    Vocalists:
    Darius de Haas (1, 5, 7, 18)
    Adam Guettel (3, 10, 11, 18)
    Theresa McCarthy (6, 17, 18)
    Audra McDonald (2, 7, 14-16, 18)
    Dawn Upshaw (8, 11, 13)
    Judy Blazer (9, 11, 12)
    Chris Trakas (11, 12)

    Piano:
    Todd Ellison (8)
    Grant Gershon (4, 6)
    Ricky Ian Gordon (10, 17)
    Ted Sperling (9)

    Additional Musicians:
    Michael Nicholas, Violin/Viola
    Debra Shufelt, Viola
    Clay Ruede, Cello
    Peter Donovan, bass
    Helen Campo, flute, piccolo
    Steven Kenyon, clarinet, flute, alto sax
    Brian Miller, flute
    Mark Thrasher, clarinet, alto sax
    Andrew Sterman, clarinet, soprano sax
    Vernon Post, trombone
    Joe Passaro, percussion
    John Nauman, piano
    Kenneth Burward-Hoy, viola (16-18)
    Jesse Levy, cello  (16-18)
    Lawrence Feldman, clarinet / bass clarinet  (16-18)

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Tommy Krasker
    Recorded April 2000 and November 2000 at Avatar Studios, New York City
    Engineered by Tom Lazarus
    Assistant Engineer: Rory Romano
    Edited by Paul Zinman at SoundByte Productions, New York City
    Mixed at Avatar Studios, New York City
    Assistant Engineer: Mark Fraunfelder
    Track 14-16, from Audra McDonald’s Way Back to Paradise, recorded November 1997 at The Hit Factory, New York City
    Engineered by Joel Moss
    Assistant Engineers: Ethan Schofer, Greg Thompson and Tom Hughes
    Edited and mixed at Avatar Studios, New York City
    Assistant Engineer: Rory Romano
    Mastered by Ric Wilson, Digisonics, Northridge, CA

    Music by Ricky Ian Gordon. Texts by James Agee (9), Ricky Ian Gordon (4, 17), Langston Hughes (1, 2, 5, 7, 11, 14-16, 18), W. S. Merwin (3), Edna St. Vincent Millay (6, 8, 10), Dorothy Parker (12, 13).
    All orchestrations by Ricky Ian Gordon except 13 by Bruce Coughlin.

    Design by John Gall
    Cover image: Soon (After Doisneau) by Duncan Hannah

    Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

nonesuch's picture
on May 29, 2008 - 7:14pm
Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 24, 2001 (All day)
Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

79626

Number of Discs in Set: 
1disc
176
417
Tuesday, April 24, 2001 (All day)
0
0
Artist Name: 
Ricky Ian Gordon
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
UPC: 
075597962628BUN
Price: 
0.00
Label: 
CD+MP3
UPC: 
603497197965
Price: 
12.00
Label: 
MP3
Description: 

The CD of this album is available to purchase at ArkivMusic.

Bright Eyed Joy: The Songs of Ricky Ian Gordon is the first disc devoted entirely to the music of Ricky Ian Gordon, a composer equally at home writing for the concert hall, opera, dance, theater and film, and whose music, “with its references to Debussy, Ravel and Britten crossed with Bernstein, Blitzstein and Sondheim," says the New York Times, "has an unexpected emotional potency in light of its compositional rigor.” The songs on this new recording are set to texts by James Agee, Langston Hughes, W.S. Merwin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, and Gordon, and feature such acclaimed vocalists as Audra McDonald, Dawn Upshaw, Adam Guettel, Judy Blazer, Theresa McCarthy, Chris Pedro Trakas and Darius de Haas, with orchestra conducted by Eric Stern.

The disc opens with “Heaven,” sung by Darius de Haas, a song Gordon had originally written to open Only Heaven, a musical celebration of Langston Hughes’s poetry through Harlem of the 1920s and '30s. The lyric is, according to the composer, “just one more wonderful Langston Hughes brush stroke—the simplest, most literal evocation of heaven imaginable.” Among the other Hughes settings included on the disc are “Dream Variations,” “Song for a Dark Girl,” and “Daybreak in Alabama,” all written for Audra McDonald and originally released on her Nonesuch debut, Way Back to Paradise.

On Bright Eyed Joy: The Songs of Ricky Ian Gordon, Gordon also sets the poetry of W.S. Merwin in “A Contemporary,” sung by Adam Guettel, as well as texts by the legendary Dorothy Parker, in whose memory Gordon composed the 1992 operetta Autumn Valentine. Gordon’s own text, in the song “Run Away,” recalls a particularly difficult time in the composer’s life. It is sung here by Theresa McCarthy, who premiered it during a cabaret appearance at New York’s Joe’s Pub in 1998.

A March 13, 2001, showcase performance of Gordon’s songs, featured vocalists Judy Blazer, Kristin Chenoweth, Adam Guettel, Cherry Jones, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Billy Porter, among others, was presented as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series.

 

DescriptionExcerpt: 

The New York Times has likened Ricky Ian Gordon to Bernstein and Sondheim. On these pieces, he pairs his music with words from James Agee, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, and others. Joining him are label-mates Audra McDonald, Dawn Upshaw, and Adam Guettel.

ProductionCredits: 

MUSICIANS
Eric Stern, conductor

Vocalists:
Darius de Haas (1, 5, 7, 18)
Adam Guettel (3, 10, 11, 18)
Theresa McCarthy (6, 17, 18)
Audra McDonald (2, 7, 14-16, 18)
Dawn Upshaw (8, 11, 13)
Judy Blazer (9, 11, 12)
Chris Trakas (11, 12)

Piano:
Todd Ellison (8)
Grant Gershon (4, 6)
Ricky Ian Gordon (10, 17)
Ted Sperling (9)

Additional Musicians:
Michael Nicholas, Violin/Viola
Debra Shufelt, Viola
Clay Ruede, Cello
Peter Donovan, bass
Helen Campo, flute, piccolo
Steven Kenyon, clarinet, flute, alto sax
Brian Miller, flute
Mark Thrasher, clarinet, alto sax
Andrew Sterman, clarinet, soprano sax
Vernon Post, trombone
Joe Passaro, percussion
John Nauman, piano
Kenneth Burward-Hoy, viola (16-18)
Jesse Levy, cello  (16-18)
Lawrence Feldman, clarinet / bass clarinet  (16-18)

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Tommy Krasker
Recorded April 2000 and November 2000 at Avatar Studios, New York City
Engineered by Tom Lazarus
Assistant Engineer: Rory Romano
Edited by Paul Zinman at SoundByte Productions, New York City
Mixed at Avatar Studios, New York City
Assistant Engineer: Mark Fraunfelder
Track 14-16, from Audra McDonald’s Way Back to Paradise, recorded November 1997 at The Hit Factory, New York City
Engineered by Joel Moss
Assistant Engineers: Ethan Schofer, Greg Thompson and Tom Hughes
Edited and mixed at Avatar Studios, New York City
Assistant Engineer: Rory Romano
Mastered by Ric Wilson, Digisonics, Northridge, CA

Music by Ricky Ian Gordon. Texts by James Agee (9), Ricky Ian Gordon (4, 17), Langston Hughes (1, 2, 5, 7, 11, 14-16, 18), W. S. Merwin (3), Edna St. Vincent Millay (6, 8, 10), Dorothy Parker (12, 13).
All orchestrations by Ricky Ian Gordon except 13 by Bruce Coughlin.

Design by John Gall
Cover image: Soon (After Doisneau) by Duncan Hannah

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz