“Shut the Duck up and Play your Accordion” the pyrotechnically virtuosic accordio-vocalisticator DUCKMANDU! stops singing for nearly an entire CD to try his blazing-fast hand at Classical Music, Klezmer, tunes you know and love, tunes you don’t know and will come to love, and original compositions in neo-Klezmer and other styles!
A full color six panel insert by renowned illustrator anonymous Bosch includes the Gallery of Historical Duck Accordionist Portraits. Each portrait includes a marble chiseled engraving which imparts the significance of each Duck Accordionist’s place in musical history. Historical ducks include J.S. Duch, Carl Michael Bellduck, and John Mallard Sousa.
The CD gets under way with a fast tempo Sirba. This piece was known in it’s day as the Klezmer “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Aaron Seeman’s Gypsy inspired composition, Fabriccio uses a nine note scale and lurches forward in 7/4 and 5/8. You will swear that Mozart’s “Turkish March” must have been written with accordion in mind. John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” features a piccolo solo played on the accordion’s piccolo reed.
Chopin, too, works great on the accordion, as demonstrated by the “Minute Waltz.”
Two tracks feature guest artists: Ursula Knudson of Fishtank Ensemble plays saw and sings on a soaring version of J.S. Bach's “Air on the G String,” and Brandilyn Davidson plays clarinet on a fascinating reworking of the Fishtank Ensemble favorite, “Extremely Large Congenial Romanian.”
Alas, even on this CD, Duckmandu can’t help singing a few songs on the “Can’t Shut the Duck Up” section of the CD as he belts out “O Sole Mio,” “Tumbalalaika,” “Fader Bergström,” and “After You’ve Gone.”
The CD exits with a heart-wrenching rendition of Jay Ungar”s “Ashoken Farewell,” better known as the “Civil War” theme from Ken Burns documentary.