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Philip Glass | Leonard Cohen Book Of Longing (2 cd, 2007)

Philip Glass | Leonard Cohen — Book Of Longing (2 cd, 2007)

 Philip Glass | Leonard Cohen — Book Of Longing (2 cd, 2007)  Philip Glass | Leonard Cohen — Book Of Longing (2 cd, 2007)ψ≡ψ   The dramatic highlight of the work was “I Came To You This Morning,” which is the re~titled, “A Thousand Kisses Deep.” He, of course, included every verse that Leonard used in the book. The poem is a tour de force in itself and the dramatic rendering served as the musical climax. Up to this point, most of the musicians and singers were featured with solo highlights. But in this piece, all were brought together in musical groups that emphasized the unity of the work. Compare what Leonard wrote about “A Thousand Kisses Deep” when he sent it to Jarkko to post on the Blackening Pages:
ψ≡ψ   “This is getting pretty close. (...) The process has become rather comic. But I think we’ve got it now. It took the crisis of posting it to your site to force a clarification of the text (after three years of secret tinkering). There is an apparent violation of the metre in some verses (e.g. #4) but the old poets would have justified them with devices such as th’Holy Spirit, or th’Means. And these curiosities actually correspond to the accents of the poem when it is sung. This version represents a distillation of many, many verses, all of them tottering over the final line, A thousand kisses deep. I hope this is an end to it for a while.”
ψ≡ψ   Kniha toužení (anglicky Book of Longing) sbírka básní kanadského spisovatele a hudebníka Leonarda Cohena. Vyšla v roce 2006 prostřednictvím nakladatelství McClelland & Stewart, které s Cohenem spolupracovalo již od jeho počátků. Jde o jeho první literární dílo od roku 1993, kdy vyšla sbírka Hudba neznámého (anglicky Stranger Music) a o první novou sbírku básní od roku 1984, kdy byla vydána Kniha milosrdenství (anglicky Book of Mercy). Obsahuje mnoho nových Cohenových básní, to vše doplněné o jeho vlastní kresby. Americký hudební skladatel Philip Glass později představil muzikál inspirovaný touto sbírkou. Českou verzi vydalo v roce 2008 v překladu Miroslava Jindry nakladatelství Argo.Location: New York, NY, U.S.
Album release:   2007
Record Label: Orange Mountain Music
Duration:     88:33
01 Prologue — I Can’t Make the Hills     3:09
02 I Came Down From the Mountain     2:58
03 A Sip of Wine     8:41
04 Want to Fly     2:09
05 The Light Came Through the Window     4:11
06 Puppet Time     2:39
07 G~d Opened My Eyes     2:36
08 You Go Your Way     0:07
09 I Was Doing Something     4:20
10 Not a Jew     3:02
11 How Much I Love you     3:52
12 Babylon     5:47
13 I Enjoyed the Laughter     1:49    
14 This Morning I woke Up Again     5:16
15 I Want o Love You Now     5:57
16 Don’t Have the Proof     2:44
17 The Night of Santiago     5:09
18 Mother Mother     3:45
19 You Came to Me This Morning     10:27
20 I Am Now Able     3:21
21 Roshi’s Very Tired     2:39
22 Epilogue — Merely a Prayer     3:55
Album Moods: Reflective Complex Somber Sophisticated Bittersweet Hypnotic Literate Plaintive Searching Spiritual Yearning Autumnal Earnest
★   Laura Aswad Project Coordinator
★   Jennie Bowman Production Stage Manager
★   Linda Brumbach Executive Producer, Producer
★   Don Christensen Executive Producer, Mixing, Producer
★   Leonard Cohen Images, Spoken Word, Text
★   Lorca Cohen Photography
★   Dan Dryden Engineer
★   Will Erat Tenor (Vocal)
★   Stephen Erb Engineer
★   Timothy Fain Violin
★   Philip Glass Composer, Executive Producer, Keyboards
★   Richard Guerin Legal Advisor
★   Tara Hugo Mezzo–Soprano (Vocal)
★   Christine Jones Set Design
★   Daniel Keeling Bass Baritone
★   Jim Keller Director
★   Kaleb Kilkenny Management
★   Zoë Knight Associate Director
★   Jessica Lehrman Administrative Assistant
★   Kasia Walicka Maimone Costume Design
★   Megan Marolf Horn (English), Oboe
★   Susan Marshall Stage Direction
★   Kurt Munkasci Executive Producer, Mixing
★   Timothy O’Donnell Legal Advisor
★   Eleonore Oppenheim Double Bass
★   Michael Petit Cover Design
★   Dominique Plaisant Soprano (Vocal)
★   Alisa E. Regas Associate Producer
★   Michael Riesman Conductor, Keyboards, Mixing, Music Direction, Producer
★   Mick Rossi Keyboards, Percussion
★   Kate St. John Horn (English), Oboe
★   Andrew Sterman Clarinet (Bass), Flute, Piccolo, Saxophone
★   Wendy Sutter Cello
★   Michael Trepagnier Assistant Engineer
★   Doug Witney Production Coordination
★   Jim Woodard Company Manager
★   Jimmy Woodard Company Manager
★   Scott Zielinski Lighting
Philip Glass/Leonard Cohen collaboration, 2007~
By Dick Straub
ψ≡ψ   A few years ago, Leonard Cohen and Philip Glass had a prearranged meeting in Los Angeles. Leonard shared an early draft of his poetry book, Book of Longing, with Philip in an afternoon conversation that stretched into evening. According to Glass, Leonard read him most of the draft. In the program for his work, Glass writes that he found the poems intensely beautiful, personal, and inspiring. He continues, on the spot, I proposed an evening~length work of poetry, music and image based on this work. Leonard liked my idea.
ψ≡ψ   Leonard’s book was published in the spring of 2006, and the Glass composition, he has called it a musical cycle, had its world premiere in Toronto on June 1, 2007. The work was co~commissioned by a number of art festivals and the University of Texas. Underwriters include the Luminato Festival of Arts and Creativity, Toronto; The Barbican Centre, London; Lincoln Center Festival, New York; Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff; Stanford Lively Arts, Stanford University. After three performances in Toronto, the work appeared three nights at Charleston’s Spoleto Festival and two nights at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival before moving to New York’s Lincoln Center. It sold out two shows in New York at the Rose Theater in the Jazz at Lincoln Center facility.
ψ≡ψ   As of this writing (August 2007), the work is scheduled for October performances in Palo Alto, California (Stanford — one show), Wales (Cardiff — two), London (Barbican — one), Groningen, Netherlands (Noord Nederlands Orkest Venue one), and Madrid (Madrid Autumn Festival two). Shows have also been scheduled for the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington between February 22 and March 16 2008. Glass has also stated his intention to release a CD of the work, hopefully in the fall of 2007.ψ≡ψ   Approximately 90 minutes long, and performed without intermission, the composition combines Cohen’s recorded voice reading his poetry, four artists singing poems to Glass’ music, eight instrumentalists with featured solos, and a beautiful set consisting of 15 pieces of Cohen artwork, with a large center screen displaying Cohen art pieces rotating and morphing with lighting effects. The singers and instrumentalists move about the stage in a stylish choreographed manner. In a Toronto interview Glass stated he expected the show to evolve with additional performances.
ψ≡ψ   For the poetry, Cohen recorded all poems in the book, and left it entirely to Glass to choose which ones should be included. As evidence of the show evolving, in Toronto there were occasions when the poetry reading started too soon, and applause made it impossible to understand all the words. By the second Lincoln Center evening, that timing distraction had been fixed. Although it hasn’t been proposed officially, the poetry readings would make a wonderful additional CD, even without the music.
ψ≡ψ   The current troupe, which also performed in South Carolina, Chicago and New York, consists of Glass on keyboard, with Michael Riesman conducting and also playing keyboard. Tenor Will Erat, mezzo~soprano Tara Hugo, bass~baritone Daniel Keeling, and soprano Dominique Plaisant deliver the lyrics. Musicians are Tim Fain on violin, Eleonore Oppenheim on double bass. Mick Rossi on percussion and keyboards, Kate St. John on oboe and English horn, Andrew Sterman on horns, and Wendy Sutter on cello. To date, vocalists have succeeded in performing with clear enunciation and convincing emotions, and instrumentalists have displayed remarkable virtuosity.
ψ≡ψ   The producer of the work is Linda Brumbach, founder and head of Pomegranate Arts. Linda also has production credits for Hal Willner’s Came So Far for Beauty, An Evening of Leonard Cohen Songs, which premiered in Brooklyn in 2003. That show also enjoyed sell~out performances in England, Sydney, and Dublin. Forming the root material for Lian Lunson’s documentary Leonard Cohen - I’m Your Man, those concerts, and having the film shown in theaters and available on DVD, have introduced many new fans to Leonard’s work. Undoubtedly, the legions of Glass fans that will enjoy Book of Longing present another opportunity for attracting new Cohen followers.
ψ≡ψ   The production credits also include: set by Christine Jones, costumes by Kasia Walicka Maimone, stage direction by Susan Marshall and lighting by Scott Zielinski. Each production element contributes significantly to the overall impact of the evening.
ψ≡ψ   A beautiful pocket~sized libretto designed by Michael Petit is included with the program. Displaying all the lyrics, it reveals the sequence of pieces as:
Prologue — I Can’t Make the Hills
I Came Down From the Mountain
A Sip of Wine
Want to Fly
The Light Came Through the Window
Puppet Time
G~d Opened My Eyes
You Go Your Way
I Was Doing Something
Not a Jew
How Much I Love you
I Enjoyed the Laughter
This Morning I woke Up Again
I Want o Love You Now
Don’t Have the Proof
The Night of Santiago
Mother Mother
You Came to Me This Morning
I Am Now Able
Roshi’s Very Tired
Epilogue — Merely a Prayer
ψ≡ψ   The pieces, according to Glass, are grouped so that humorous self parody, romantic longing, spiritual striving, and other types of poems appear only once in each cycle. Similarly, the vocalists and instrumentalists appear in cycles. In an interview with the Canadian Press, Glass says he sought a sampling of Cohen’s poems that touch on romance, biography, balladry, the dharma, limericks and rhymes. “I wanted the experience of listening to the piece to be similar to what happens when you look through a book of poems but you don’t look at it sequentially,” he says. “It’s a random kind of thing but in the course of time you actually encounter all the different aspects of the piece.”
ψ≡ψ   The Libretto also contains a note, with the permission of the author and the publishers, many of the titles as they appear in the libretto have been changed from their original form in the published book. The title changes are perhaps necessary for varying copyright needs. You Came to Me This Morning was recorded by Leonard on Ten New Songs as Thousand Kisses Deep and is printed in the book with that title. It now has new music by Glass to accompany the lyrics. The original cast CD planned by the Glass production team will contain these new versions and both deserve unique copy protection. There possibly could even be a DVD, although Glass has stated more than once that none is planned.
ψ≡ψ   Glass has appeared in public discussions of the work before performances in several locales. He was joined by Cohen in Toronto, and other joint appearances have been scheduled (Stanford and London). Glass has repeatedly noted that Cohen was wholly supportive of whatever approach the composer wanted to take including putting new music to previously recorded Cohen materials. The vocalists also reported feeling fully supported by Cohen on the occasions he visited rehearsals.
ψ≡ψ   When an audience member in the New York discussion asked Glass why so many of the pictures were either self~portraits or naked women, he responded it’s what interests him. After the Toronto concert, Cohen was asked is the music cabaret, theatrical, or classical? He responded Glassical.
ψ≡ψ   The 2007 concerts have provided an opportunity for Cohen fans around the globe to gather and socialize, as well as to enjoy the performances. Toronto saw friends from Florida, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Montreal, and other Canadian cites in attendance. London in October 2007 promises to be the largest gathering, with Cohen fans from New York, Finland, Germany, Holland, Italy and Ireland joining with many English fans for the Barbican show.
Here are a few professional review excerpts:
Website: https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/glass.html

Philip Glass | Leonard Cohen Book Of Longing (2 cd, 2007)


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