Will There Really Be a Morning?

from Nadine Sierra: There’s a Place for Us, Deutsche Grammophon

Nadine Sierra | The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra | Robert Spano, Conductor

“I enjoy the sound she makes in numbers like the two gorgeous Ricky Ian Gordon settings, particularly ‘Will there really be a morning’ (Emily Dickinson)…”

—Edward Seckerson, Gramophone


Bright Eyed Joy: Joy

from Bright Eyed Joy, Nonesuch

Audra McDonald | Theresa McCarthy | Darius de Haas | Adam Guettel | Eric Stern, conductor

Bright Eyed Joy: New Moon

Dawn Upshaw | Judy Blazer | Chris Pedro Trakas | Adam Guettel | Eric Stern, conductor

“The mood expressed in them is mostly optimistic‚ as Joy‚ the song from which the CD gets its title‚ implies. Gordon clearly has an original attitude‚ and the accompaniments‚ both piano solo and instrumental‚ are full of attractive detail.”



Grapes of Wrath: The Last Time There Was Rain

Minnesota Opera | Michael Christie, conductor

Grapes of Wrath Suite: Dios Te Salve

Live from Disney Hall | Los Angeles Master Chorale |Grant Gershon, conductor

“Gordon, who first made his name in the theatre and as a composer of Broadway-style songs, fills his score with beautifully turned genre pieces, often harking back to American popular music of the twenties and thirties: Gershwinesque song-and-dance numbers, a few sweetly soaring love songs in the manner of Jerome Kern, banjo-twanging ballads, saxed-up jazz choruses, even a barbershop quartet. You couldn’t ask for a more comfortably appointed evening of vintage musical Americana. Yet, with a slyness worthy of Weill, Gordon wields his hummable tunes to critical effect.”

—Alex Ross, The New Yorker


Just an Ordinary Guy

from Let Yourself Go, Sony Classical

Kristin Chenoweth | Coffee Club Orchestra | Rob Fisher, conductor




from Way Back to Paradise, Nonesuch

Audra McDonald | Eric Stern, conductor

“Along with a stunning soprano voice, she proved very much a singing actress who invested each song with a believable character….she saved Gordon’s three settings of texts by Langston Hughes, even making them the structure on which the rest of the album hung. She deserved accolades both for the…concept of the album and for its execution.”

—William Ruhlmann, All Music


Lorraine Hunt Lieberson | Robert Tweten, piano

Let Evening Come

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson | Robert Tweten, piano

Water Music: A Two-Part Requiem

from Of Eternal Light, BMG Classics

Musica Sacra | Richard Westenberg, conductor



My Life with Albertine: If It Is True

from My Life With Albertine, PS Classics

Kelli O’Hara | Charles Prince, conductor

“…a rich and complex piece about the importance of love and art…Deemed one of the creative heirs to Stephen Sondheim, Ricky Ian Gordon devises a show that pushes the boundaries of musical theatre for a thoughtful and probing audience…The music seems to swirl with regret, romance, fear and, yes, a sense of lost time, suggested by the wayward strains of an accordion.”

—Ben Brantley, New York Times


“Gordon also claims a composition voice very music his own – one that is quick to convey feeling and mood through soaring and playful melodic lines, harmonies of subtle hues, and lilting or surprising rhythmic shifts. In short, the songs on ‘Wilver Rain’…are gems of concision and emotional directness.””

—Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone


and flowers pick themselves: anyone lived in a pretty how town

from and flowers pick themselves, Blue Griffin

Melanie Helton, soprano | Ricky Ian Gordon, piano | Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra | Raphael Jiménez, conductor


“However much he walks the tight-rope between high art and high entertainment. he always does it with extraordinary good taste. The songs also show a remarkable versatility. ”

—John Boyer, American Record Guide


What the Living Do

from Greenwich Time, PS Classics

Rebecca Luker | Joseph Thalken, conductor



Rappahannock County: I Seen Snow

from Rappahannock County, Naxos American Opera Classics

Matthew Tuell, tenor | Virginia Arts Festival Orchestra | Rob Fisher, conductor

Rappahannock County is a work of great economy, but immense emotional breadth — and depth.”

—Wes Blomster, Opera Today

“Sometimes with broad symphonic sounds and sometimes with intimate suggestions of the parlor songs so popular in America during the Civil War era, Mr. Gordon conjures musical vignettes that match the emotional colors of each scene. Mr. Gordon’s music unfailingly allows Mr. Campbell’s words to be heard clearly, shaping the drama without imposing cheap effects or making obvious, hackneyed choices of tonal painting. Both librettist and composer offer memorable creations, which combine in a score that is as approachably beautiful as it is challengingly varied in tone, musically and dramatically.

—Joseph Newsome, Voix Des Arts


Live from Zankel Hall

Audra McDonald | Ted Sperling, conductor

But Not Forgotten

Dawn Upshaw | Chris Pedro Trakas | Eric Stern, conductor


Dream True: Wyoming

from Dream True, PS Classics

Brian d’Arcy James | Jason Daniely | Harrison Chad | William Ulrich | Jessica Molaskey | Victoria Clark | Ted Sperling, conductor

“At times, the results are striking in their beauty…Enriched by Jonathan Tunick’s evocative orchestrations, Mr. Gordon’s score captures the abundant heartache of Peter’s search and curious escape from life.”

—Peter Marks, The New York Times


A Horse with Wings

“I only know Gordon’s work formerly from a wonderful Nonesuch release, Bright-Eyed Joy; alas, I’ve not heard his opera on The Grapes of Wrath, which has received glowing press. These two releases showcase the composer in very different ways, which emphasize the breadth and diversity of his talents. A Horse With Wings (the title of one song on the program) is a song recital by the composer alone, singing at the piano. Gordon demonstrates enviable musicianship. He has a pleasing, light baritone voice, and a great ear for intonation. His delivery is crisp, impassioned, and always clearly articulated. His pianism is similarly fluent; in the first song or two it seems more in the pop-song tradition of arpeggios and ornamented chord progressions, but it grows ever more complex and varied throughout the recital, so that–like any great songwriter’s accompaniments – it crafts its textures exactly to what’s needed for the expressive point of any given song, and can go in any direction to get it.”

—Robert Carl, Fanfare Magazine


Green Sneakers: Blue Dust Mask

from Green Sneakers, Blue Griffin

Jesse Blumberg, baritone | Miami String Quartet


“‘Green Sneakers’ is a significant contribution to the culture sprung from the AIDS crisis. In its forthright honesty and passion it could be compared to the film ‘Longtime Companion’ (1990), which brought home the emergency with a similar immediacy and eloquence. It heals while it hurts.”

—Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“Gordon creates masterpiece with ‘Green Sneakers.’ With the repetition of “Sleep Dear,” the final words of Green Sneakers, one heard in Vail a distant echo of the “Ewig” that concludes Mahler’s monumental Abschied. For this is a song of today’s earth, a farewell lamentation that transcends death.

—Wes Blomster, Opera Today