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The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld and Other Fresh American Art Songs

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Audio CD, September 1, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Already the subject of international attention, The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld is an unusual and timely set of songs whose lyrics are direct quotes from the Secretary’s Pentagon briefings. Set to music by San Francisco composer Bryant Kong, the texts were previously arranged into poems by Hart Seely and published in a book, Pieces of Intelligence, in 2003.

The humorous new songs—which are also serious classical music—have been featured on CNN and NPR’s Morning Edition; in dozens of major newspapers; and in television, radio, and print worldwide including the BBC.

If you think of Rumsfeld as a character in a "Gulf Wars II" musical, these are the songs he might sing. The seven songs show the Secretary not only holding forth from his press podium, but in introspective moments as well. These opposing moods are the natural results of the situation in which Rumsfeld finds himself: he is trying to sell a story that can’t be sold.

The songs are written in an accessible classical style with strong popular influences, from cabaret to pop. The words to "The Unknown" are now classic ("As we know, there are known knowns…"). "Happenings" includes words now spoken by Rumsfeld in Fahrenheit 9/11. Other songs include a waltz and even a Baroque aria.

Debut artists Elender Wall and Kong are currently on their concert tour, Weapons of Mass Distraction. New label Stuffed Penguin Music seeks to bring innovative classical music to a broader audience.

The album features new and rare American art songs, including many first recordings. Cabaret Songs by William Bolcom reflect both German and American cabaret styles. Expunged Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes are given jazzy settings by Jerry Mueller. Finally, the rare Five Lewis Carroll Poems are settings by John Duke of the famous Alice in Wonderland poems.


A simultaneously intelligent and hilarious album… "The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld" exposes the sheer genius of current day politics. -- Tamara Turner, CD Baby, July 7, 2004

Here is this woman with a wonderful voice singing my press conferences. Now, if that doesn’t tell you something...! -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, comments to the Newspaper Association of America, Apr. 22, 2004

Lithe and witty art songs...executed with free-spirited bravura. -- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, May 25, 2004

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld: The Unknown
  2. The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld: Glass Box
  3. The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld: A Confession
  4. The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld: Happenings
  5. The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld: The Digital Revolution
  6. The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld: The Situation
  7. The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld: Clarity
  8. Selected Cabaret Songs: Amor
  9. Selected Cabaret Songs: Song of Black Max
  10. Selected Cabaret Songs: Waitin
  11. Selected Cabaret Songs: George
  12. The Early Frogs
  13. Three Nursery Rhymes: Three children sliding on the ice
  14. Three Nursery Rhymes: Baby, baby, naughty baby
  15. Three Nursery Rhymes: This is the house that Jack built
  16. Five Lewis Carroll Poems: The Lobster Quadrille
  17. Five Lewis Carroll Poems: The Little Crocodile
  18. Five Lewis Carroll Poems: Jabberwocky
  19. Five Lewis Carroll Poems: The Mock Turtle's Song
  20. Five Lewis Carroll Poems: The Duchess' Lullaby

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