Debut Release

The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld and Other Fresh American Art Songs
Online Release: Mar. 12, 2004
Retail Release: TBA
Catalog #: SP 00101


Elender Wall, soprano, and Bryant Kong, piano


Kong – The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld
Bolcom – Selected Cabaret Songs
Kong – The Early Frogs
Mueller – Three Nursery Rhymes
Duke – Five Lewis Carroll Poems


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Scroll down for the album description.

Read about the album's featured work, The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld.

Scroll way down for the Track List.

While early American art songs followed European classical models, modern works show the increasing influence of popular genres, from cabaret to jazz and, recently, even pop and rock music.

From “old masterworks” written in 1978 to truly contemporary music written in mid-2003, the songs on this CD vividly demonstrate some of the new directions the American art song tradition has taken. The music would be equally at home in a concert hall, theater, cabaret, or nice piano bar. Many of the songs are recorded here for the first time.

The featured work, The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, uses for its lyrics the exact words of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Really. Find out more at the Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld home page.

The Cabaret Songs by William Bolcom reflect various popular styles. “Song of Black Max” is in the German cabaret tradition of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. “Waitin” evokes an African-American spiritual. “George” is a lounge-lizard homage to a famous aria (“Un bel di”) from Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly.

The Early Frogs is a memorably over-the-top ode from the late 19th century. It can be found in the delightful collection, The World’s Worst Poetry (Prion Books). The composer has set this awful poem as a soaring lyrical piece—accompanied by croaking frogs.

The Three Nursery Rhymes are based on old Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes—removed from later editions—in which bad things happen to misbehaving children. San Francisco composer Jerry Mueller uses jazzy settings to bring these poems to life.

Finally, the Five Lewis Carroll Poems by one of America’s great art song composers, John Duke, are from the famous novels Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. They include the classic tale “Jabberwocky” and the unusual “Duchess’ Lullaby.”

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Track List

Bryant Kong
The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld (2003) 13:34
1. The Unknown 1:05
2. Glass Box 2:57
3. A Confession 1:54
4. Happenings 2:22
5. The Digital Revolution 1:10
6. The Situation 1:43
7. Clarity 2:10

William Bolcom
Selected Cabaret Songs (1978, 1981) 12:08
8. Amor 2:59
9. Song of Black Max 3:07
10. Waitin 2:04
11. George 3:52

Bryant Kong
12. The Early Frogs (2003) 2:26

Jerry Mueller
Three Nursery Rhymes
(1990) 5:50
13. Three children sliding on the ice 1:22
14. Baby, baby, naughty baby 1:45
15. This is the house that Jack built 2:39

John Duke
Five Lewis Carroll Poems
(1982) 12:24
16. The Lobster Quadrille 2:26
17. The Little Crocodile 1:33
18. Jabberwocky 4:44
19. The Mock Turtle’s Song 2:27
20. The Duchess’ Lullaby 1:06

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