Medicine Man

by Ludwig Recordings

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credits

released September 18, 2015

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Ludwig Recordings Richmond, British Columbia

Ludwig Recordings is a Record Label specializing in the music of composer Christopher Ludwig and its artists.
Ludwig Recordings has an especially strong focus on Art Song.

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Track Name: Medicine Man
Medicine Man

(1999, for baritone and piano)
Poem by Christopher Ludwig

I am the medicine man
of orange, yellow, and beige pills
little ovals and chunky hexagonal treatments
capsules and heavy metals
filling the soul with promises and loose ends

and what deadly toxins may the body endure
to find wellness?
in the mind
where sickness manifest
in sleep and in health
the body
that endures the wrath of the mind

and the soul is fed a fortitude of treatments
all designed to better oneself
in a world
where there is no rest
no salvation

for a medicine man
has no wellness
no opportunities to rid oneself
of hefty solitude
for all his battles must be fought alone
without the pills
Track Name: Roped to a Rhino
Roped To A Rhino

(2012, for baritone and piano)
Poem by Rick Keating

I was strolling with my Darling on a lovely spring night
And we were enraptured with true love delight
She said "It's just perfect." I said "Ain't it grand?"
She said "Love is a mystery no one understands."
"Oh, what can it be?" Then I said. "Well, I Know."
"Love is two people roped to a Rhino."
Love is two people roped to a Rhino

My Darling looked at me like she'd just awoke
Hearing the dumbest words I'd ever spoke
And that was the end of our Romantic mood
She said I was vulgar and crazy and crude
Equating a splendour so sweet and indefinable
With the coupling of Rhino Cow and big ugly Rhino bull
With the coupling of Rhino Cow and big ugly Rhino bull

I would have explained what she didn't get
But wonder of wonders I'm not that stupid yet
With love in my heart I weathered the storm
As she lectured me loudly at the top of her form
People were stopping and watching her fuss
But it wasn't her fault, it was the Rhinoceros
It wasn't her fault, it was the Rhinoceros
Track Name: Fish
Fish

(2012, for bariitone and piano)
Poem by Rick Keating

In Belize there is a fish
In the jungle in black pools
Between the webs of root
He lurks
His neat trick coiled around him
Floundering upward
Through the murk
He pauses beneath
His silvery ceiling
He likes his life
He savors a moment

Then shatters the surface
Hurls himself
Through a detonation
Of air and water
Shatters the surface
And sinks

Leaving above him
In the dim beyond
Above his pond
Leaving a noise
A crack
As loud and slick
As a rifle shot

That's the kind of trick
I would like to pull
If I ever got
To the surface

Neat trick Fish
Track Name: Four Poems for Valeska - I
Four Poems for Valeska

(2013, for baritone, violin and piano)
Poem by Bravig Imbs

I

Pines on this plain of lowering night
bend down their branches with the sun in sorrow,
the welling evening wind sweeps under them with moan
and I am washed over by the northern waves.

O lorn immensity of drowned dead stars,
to what port has the sunken sun repaired
and from what mast was this full moon released?

I cannot know but am not discontent--
I know the darkening harbor of your eyes.
Track Name: Four Poems for Valeska - II
II

Near this slow river slept the dread jaguar
and on this monstrous lilly-pad he paused.
The morning sun was mauve and stilled the shrieking
birds---
their plumage faded in the mist that rose
warm from the wide savannahs.

Why have you put such fever in my heart?
Track Name: Four Poems for Valeska - III
III

Wheeling aloft and chanting to the sky
only the lark had risen again--
the grass was trounced by rain and beaten down.

Slowly out of the vapors of the earth
redolent with root and the cold breath of stone,
breathed there a phantom with unknown eyes
raised above mine to the soaring bird.

The trembling that was evening shook the air,
and when the phantom sang I could not tell
whether the lark was mute or singing still--

so merged with wonder is your voice,
O lark and phantom of your words . . .
Track Name: Four Poems for Valeska - IV
IV

The stars float high and unperturbed
the gull's wing is folded on the wave.

Forgotten is this shore and desolate and dun
where is the gleam of the remembered tower.

Make now your orisons and your farewells,
the hour of voyage and of morning nears---

Does not the sky repeat the rose
and the clear stars the color of my love?
Track Name: Edward Curtis - 1
Edward Curtis

(2013, for baritone and piano)
Poem by Ken Cathers

1

it wasn't photography
he became obsessed with

but the darkroom
lovely clutter of

developing tanks

trays, negative reels
pinned loose like fly strip

the whole process
of emulsion, stop
bath, hypo...

waiting for the image
to emerge
from silver salt

not even knowing
a name for
the places

these prints came
from; the faces
of those he knew

to be already
dead surfacing
through this cold solution
of tears.

& it was the eyes
enlarged first:
white negative

retinas staring
out from a
world he thought

vanished with
his departure.
Track Name: Edward Curtis - 2
2

wasn't sure any
of this could
survive outside
the darkroom

able to breath
the dead air
only so long
he came out

the half remembered
descent through
the pines

to where he had
set camp
still with him

the vantage
the Haida girl
had taken him to

where the dim
outline of the sea,
shone, smoke

from a shore
fire weaving trees
into distance.
Track Name: Edward Curtis - 3
3

who's to say
even now
that all this
took place

a man reinvents
his own world
losing the facts

creating strange
metaphors of
place & people.

if only I could
shape these words
into a place

of trees & houses
you could enter
into, drop through

a trap door of
dream & find me
here --- part of

the fiction: as
unsure of
what would

happen next
as you are.
Track Name: Edward Curtis - 4
4

he was old
by the time
he got here

his lifetime
spent capturing
the image of

a dying race
Hopi
Sioux
Arapaho

never noticing
his reflection
fade

on the lense he watched
the world

grow old through.
Track Name: Edward Curtis - 5
5

things were falling
apart even then.

at Sointula
he had to
reinvent

ritual dances
to make the
Kwakiutl worth

filming, provide
his own head-
dress to even

approximate
the authenticity

of how he once
imagined it
to be.
Track Name: Edward Curtis - 6
6

Edward.
you lived in a
landscape of faces

the skin weathered
by drought
freezing

etched with
the intricate precision
of seasons.

is this what you
set out to recover?

this cold stare
that does not
turn away?

I am left
with a face in sepia
a photograph
grained with light

& always
the unseen man
behind the eye
that remembers

keeping himself
separate, diffused

knowing there is
so little time
always so little time left
to get this down.
Track Name: Sleep - 1
Sleep

(2013, for baritone and piano)
Poem by Bravig Imbs

I

slowly the ponderous doors of lead imponderous
pushed by a wedging force unthinking opened
how like a cloud I floated down the dim green air
unthinking of the soft violence of odorous winds
the falling plaint of hidden violins
and eyes
following
Track Name: Sleep - 2
II

doors unto doors unfolded downward
and I was like unto a sailing ship
stern downward sailing on a dim green sea
unmindful of the rich push of flowery winds
the melting voices of far seraphims
and arms
following
Track Name: Sleep - 3
III

slowly the ponderous doors of lead imponderous
lowered above my head in absolute slow closing
quiet as a shadow on a dim green wall
I rested in my dark and ivory vault
the violins were no more nor eyes nor arms
hours on hours
following
Track Name: Proverbs 20:17
Proverbs 20:17

(2014, for baritone and piano)
English Standard Version (ESV)

Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
Track Name: Proverbs 20:23
Proverbs 20:23

(2014, for baritone and piano)
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Differing weights are an abomination to the LORD
And a false scale is not good.
Track Name: The Wind Was There
The Wind Was There

(2010, for baritone and piano
Adaptation from a poem by Bravig Imbs

all was in flight
wild geese in the sky
snow from the sky flying
rivers hastening to the sea

horses running from a fence
fences running from the ground
ground fleeing from the sky

all was in flight
even from a distance
the wind was there
swift and imperious
a fleeing cloud
the wind
sharper than fine steel
Track Name: Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

(2013, for baritone and piano)
Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.