Pizzicato reviews Geoffrey Gordon's Jeux de Création release on Naxos....
“Jeux de Création by the American composer Geoffrey Gordon is a brilliant, even spectacular, work in all respects.”
The Art Music Lounge reviews Geoffrey Gordon's Jeux de Création release on Naxos
"French-American harpist Anne-Sophie Bertrand plays a diverse program of music for harp, going back as far as E.T.A. Hoffmann, the older colleague and promoter of Beethoven, and as far forward as American composer Geoffrey Gordon.
Absolutely the most interesting piece on this entire album is Gordon’s Jeux de Création, music that is not just modern but very creative and highly atmospheric."
Lynn René BayleyThe Art Music Lounge
Gramophone reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS....
"Geoffrey Gordon has built up a substantial and wide-ranging catalogue over the last quarter of a century, with the three works featured here attesting to his imaginative outlook on the musical past.
Inspired by Doktor Faustus, Thomas Mann’s powerful if often fanciful take on the creative ego, the Cello Concerto (2013) falls into a Prologue, seven Episodes and Epilogue that play continuously for 24 minutes (paralleling those 24 years of creativity granted in the Faustian pact). Its trajectory from ‘innocence to madness’ might easily risk overkill but the Dutilleux-like finesse Gordon instils into the relationship of soloist and orchestra (cello only coming to the fore in two trenchant cadenza passages) helps to maintain expressive focus throughout.
Fanfare reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS ....
GORDON: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (after Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus) BIS 2330
Copenhagen Phil/Lan Shui/Moldrup, cello
A shared interest in Thomas Mann’s novel Doktor Faustus led to the composition of Geoffrey Gordon’s Cello Concerto. In the novel, a bargain is struck between the fictitious composer Adrian Leverkühn and the Devil in which the composer is granted 24 years of genius (as reflected in the score’s 24 minutes of duration). The work is a Copenhagen Philharmonic commission for Toke Møldrup. The musical language seems uncompromising, but moments of magical (magickal) mystery are inevitably part of this mystical journey; the third movement, “Dürer’s Magic Square,” is simply beautiful in its frozen stasis. The ominous ascending lines in the orchestra of the fourth movement are separated from the “Magic Square” movement by a brilliantly delivered cadenza, and if anything, the second cadenza, between movements 4 and 5, is more impressive still in its expressive scope; there is not a note wasted in either of them. If one sees the movements as representatives of emotional states of the protagonist on his journey from innocence to madness, this presents a harrowing journey, with the Devil’s fiddle appearing as the solo violin in the final movement. An Epilogue offers hints of solace and peace, but with harp washes unsettled by bass rumblings and uncomfortable woodwind and wha-wha brass gestures. This is a magnificent concerto; one hopes it will join the repertoire. In terms of scope, one might perhaps make comparisons with Dutilleux’s Cello Concerto, “Tout un monde lointain …”; but Gordon’s voice is all his own.
Five stars: This is a magnificent offering; Gordon’s music lingers in the memory, it resonates on within us.
Fanfare reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS....
Gordon’s idiom is dense, kinetic, multi-layered, extremely colorful in using both the cello and the orchestra, and theatrical. Don’t expect the cello in its typical role as soulful singer. The last contemporary cello concertos that had a lasting impact were composed by Schnittke, Dutilleux, and Lutoslawski. They function as laboratories, if you will, for experimenting with the cello’s hidden capacities. Gordon mines the same vein, showing us that the cello can tremble, shudder, shriek, whine, keen, grow hysterical or menacing, etc. Here the cello is an agitated participant from the first... What Gordon presents, like (Robert) Schumann when he refers to the mad musician Kreisler, is a composer’s private transformation of his own literary response into musical notation...Gordon’s concerto reminded me instantly of Schoenberg’s 1929–30 Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, not as a direct influence but by dint of a musical imagination creating a cinema of the mind. Schoenberg’s score never reached the movie house; Gordon’s concerto is so dramatic that it would leap off the screen, blotting out the visuals. There’s a schrecklich air to Gordon’s concerto which befits Leverkühn’s dance with the Devil...Gordon’s Cello Concerto is a remarkable score of eye-opening dimensions for both cellist and listener. It deserves to be widely played and appreciated."
MusicWeb International reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS
This generously filled new issue - its title translates as ‘Cello Book’- contains a trio of substantial works for the instrument; a sonata with piano inspired by Shakespeare’s Tempest, a setting of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale for choir with cello, and most impressive of all a full-scale cello concerto. One of the attractive features common to all three pieces is the elegance and symmetry of Gordon’s formal designs; the composer writes superbly for the orchestra while its delicately varied expressive content packs a lingering emotional punch. Gordon’s cello concerto impresses more with each hearing. It is fierce and uncompromising and superbly played by Møldrup and the Copenhagen Phil under Lan Shui.
The disc concludes with Gordon’s setting of John Keats’ immortal Ode to A Nightingale. The vocal writing seems incredibly challenging; the Danish choir copes splendidly both with the chromaticism of Gordon’s piquant harmonies and in terms of their projection of Keats’ singular language - there are flashes of vocal writing which recall Britten at his best.
It is high time listeners were presented with an extended opportunity to become acquainted with Geoffrey Gordon’s music and not for the first time we can be grateful to BIS for making this happen.
Richard HanlonMusicWeb International
Bachtrack reviews the Canadian premiere of PUCK - fleeing from the dawn....
"An impressive work, expertly orchestrated and with apocalyptic accents, the creation of American composer Geoffrey Gordon, PUCK – fleeing from the dawn (inspired by the world of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ) is executed with power and attention to detail."
Minnesota Orchestra gives 'Prometheus' concerto a fiery premiere
What does a bass clarinet look and sound like? Even classical aficionados can be hard-pressed to answer that question. Hardly any concertos have been written for the instrument, buried deep in the underbelly of the orchestra.
One exception is "Prometheus" by American composer Geoffrey Gordon. First heard earlier this year in London, the work received its U.S. premiere Thursday morning at Orchestra Hall.
Terry BlainStar Tribune
English String Orchestra records Saint Blue....
Geoffrey Gordon’s Saint Blue, inspired by two Kandinsky paintings ('All Saints 1' and 'In Blue', well worth a web search), is by far the best work on this engaging disc; a taut and exhilarating single movement concerto, wonderfully played by soloists Simon Desbruslais and Clare Hammond.
Chris AchenbachClassical Ear (UK)
BBC Music Magazine reviews Saint Blue....
"Geoffrey Gordon's Saint Blue is inspired by two Kandinsky paintings, All Saints I and In Blue and constructed as 'a sonic exploration of the sacred and profane,' with the trumpet deployed first as an instrument of heavenly summons, then as the bluesy soul of jazz in this complex, richly-satisfying work."
Kate WakelingBBC Music Magazine
JACK Quartet and Anthony McGill premiere Gordon QUINTET
".....the darkly seductive Clarinet Quintet by Geoffrey Gordon received its world premiere with the wonderful clarinetist Anthony McGill joining the JACK players.
Mr. Gordon’s Clarinet Quintet combines a similar zest for sonic experimentation with a four-movement structure built around thematic signposts — reiterations of an opening motif — that guide the listener through a colorful and atmospheric journey. That motif is built on accordion-like layered string chords from which the clarinet emerges almost coyly, with a veiled sound and sinewy flutter.
Across four movements, the interaction between clarinet and strings changes, with moments of bright commonality and others in which the warm, musky clarinet tone contrasts with the sharper and glossier one of the string quartet. In the third movement, small cells of players break away for a series of arresting duos and a trio that chart different interpersonal dynamics. The work ends softly on a languid low clarinet trill, which Mr. McGill played so quietly that the final notes were not so much heard as felt as gently pulsating airwaves."
Corinna Da Fonseca-WollheimThe New York Times
Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten reviews world premiere of Gordon's Cello Concerto
"The Copenhagen Philharmonic gave the audience goose bumps at the world premiere of Geoffrey Gordon's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, inspired by Thomas Mann's novel Doktor Faustus.