||Ricky Ian Gordon (1956-) is one of America’s most distinguished contemporary composers. Though successful in writing for opera, dance, theater and film, he has gained great recognition for his song compositions. Composed in 1992, Genius Child is a song cycle of 10 songs which sets the poems of American poet, Langston Hughes (1902-1967).|
The study is divided into five parts for discussion: An overview of Gordon’s life, art music of Gordon, an introduction to poet Langston Hughes; the background to composing Genius Child; and music analysis of six selected songs from Genius Child. By analyzing six songs from Gordon’s Genius Child, the study is to discuss how Gordon tightly combines music and poems together through vocal, melody, rhythm and other music techniques, which enables to depict the poem’s conception.
Gordon often properly utilizes simple rhythms and relaxing genre of music, and integrates them with the textures and harmonies of classical music, to create elegant music with style. His music can appropriately reflect the conception and deep meaning of the poet writing a poem. In addition, Gordon adds popular music elements into music to express the styles of popular music, reflecting modern urban life.