Banjo and Shadows (2009)

for baritone voice and piano

Texts by Carl Sandburg

1.   LOSSES

 

I HAVE love

And a child,

A banjo

And shadows.

(Losses of God,

All will go

And one day

We will hold

Only the shadows.)

 

-- Carl Sandburg, from Chicago Poems

Copyright 1916 by Henry Holt and Co. Public Domain

 

2.   WINDOW

 

NIGHT from a railroad car window

Is a great, dark, soft thing

Broken across with slashes of light.

 

-- Carl Sandburg, from Chicago Poems

Copyright 1916 by Henry Holt and Co. Public Domain

 

3.   MONOTONE

 

THE monotone of the rain is beautiful,

And the sudden rise and slow relapse

Of the long multitudinous rain.

 

The sun on the hills is beautiful,

Or a captured sunset sea-flung,

Bannered with fire and gold.

 

A face I know is beautiful—

With fire and gold of sky and sea,

And the peace of long warm rain.

 

-- Carl Sandburg, from Chicago Poems

Copyright 1916 by Henry Holt and Co. Public Domain

                  

                                                                             

4.  FROM THE SHORE

 

A LONE gray bird,

Dim-dipping, far-flying,

Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults

Of night and the sea

And the stars and storms.

 

Out over the darkness it wavers and hovers,

Out into the gloom it swings and batters,

Out into the wind and the rain and the vast,

Out into the pit of a great black world,

Where fogs are at battle, sky-driven, sea-blown,

Love of mist and rapture of flight,

Glories of chance and hazards of death

On its eager and palpitant wings.

 

Out into the deep of the great dark world,

Beyond the long borders where foam and drift

Of the sundering waves are lost and gone

On the tides that plunge and rear and crumble.

 

-- Carl Sandburg, from Chicago Poems

Copyright 1916 by Henry Holt and Co. Public Domain

 

5.  KREISLER

 

SELL me a violin, mister, of old mysterious wood. 

Sell me a fiddle that has kissed dark nights on the forehead where men

       kiss sisters they love.

Sell me dried wood that has ached with passion clutching the knees and

       arms of a storm.

Sell me horsehair and rosin that has sucked at the breasts of the morning 

       sun for milk.

Sell me something crushed in the heartsblood of pain readier than ever

       for one more song.  

 

-- Carl Sandburg, from Cornhuskers

Copyright 1918 by Henry Holt and Co. Public Domain

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Douglas Fisk -- Banjo and Shadows

Malcolm Merriweather, voice (songs 1 - 4)

Vince B. Vincent, voice (song 5)

Douglas Fisk, piano

score samples