Shirim Klezmer Orchestra,Maurice Sendak
Pincus and the Pig, A Klezmer Tale
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Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, with Maurice Sendak
Pincus and the Pig, A Klezmer Tale Tzadik (

This hilarious retelling of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf changes a few things from the original - the instrumentation, the modes, and above all, the main animal. Acclaimed children's author/illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) makes the villain in this version a particularly foul porker. His lusty, emphatic narration is full of Yiddishisms and rollicking good humor. In this version, Pincus/Peter is depicted by the clarinet, raucously played by Glenn Dickson. The bird is Michael McLaughlin's twittering, fleet-fingered piano. The duck is David Harris' loopy trombone. Brandon Seabrook's sneaky banjo is perfect as the cat. Jim Gray's tuba gives the grandfather just enough gravity. The shmutsik chozzer (filthy pig) is the tuba and trombone together. The themes for each of these characters bear just enough resemblance to the original to make the listener smile with recognition. But Shirim takes the music off into klezmer flights of fancy that that would have Prokofiev dancing in his grave. The accompanying booklet, containing the whole story retold and illustrated by Sendak and has (mercifully for us non-Yiddish speakers) a humorous glossary, written by Fishel Bressler. Also included is a sheet of stickers depicting all of the characters. Four bonus tracks at the end are lively klezmerizations of works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Satie, Brahms, and Mahler. The whole package is great for music lovers young and old. - Peggy Latkovich

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