Book of Longing CD

Everything about Leonard's 2006 book of poetry and Anjani's album
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linda_lakeside
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby linda_lakeside » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:57 am

Oh, Kush,

You were asking about Boogie Street? Well, from the one that knows nada about this record, does this sound familiar:

A sip of wine, a cigarette,
And then it’s time to go.
I tidied up the kitchenette;
I tuned the old banjo.
I’m wanted at the traffic-jam.
They’re saving me a seat.
I’m what I am, and what I am,
Is back on Boogie Street.
~ The smell of perfume in the air, bits of beauty everywhere ~ Leonard Cohen.
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby Anne » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:12 pm

Tom, I was in a little record store the other day and I saw there was a copy of the cd here! I almost felt like buying it because I love Leonard's drawing so, but then I remembered that I decided I had no need to hear that cd. Anyway. I can certainly get you a copy and send it to you before February! Let me know if that would help.
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tomsakic
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby tomsakic » Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:29 pm

Thank you Anne! - I ordered it this morning from Amazon UK and it's already on the way; and I have cancelled the US order...
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Kush
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby Kush » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:49 pm

Gracias Lakeside. Obviously I havent been keeping up with Ten New Songs. Well its titled A Sip of Wine on Book of Longing CD.
I especially like the female solos and the male-female harmonies on this. My slight complaint would be that there is no bass voice. It feels like I bought this amazing sound system but they forgot to put the subwoofer in the package. The bottom end is missing - someone like Bryn Terfel would fill it out nicely - note to PG for future reference.
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linda_lakeside
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby linda_lakeside » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:30 pm

Aha! A hole in the masterpiece! Keep 'em coming! :D
~ The smell of perfume in the air, bits of beauty everywhere ~ Leonard Cohen.
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lizzytysh
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby lizzytysh » Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:41 am

Hi Kush ~

As I recall it was a copyright issue that resulted in Philip's renaming of Leonard's poems when he created the Book of Longing production.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby linda_lakeside » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:57 am

Copyright does not subsist in a title. Just think of the confusion over something like a song called "I Love You". Pandemonium. There is no copyright in a mere title, unless it's 'trying' to pass itself off as another 'song', 'book',
'movie' whatever. Perhaps there was a change of lyric in which Leonard or Glass decided to separate the two. A sip of wine, OK, sure. A cigarette? Maybe not now. So, perhaps, there was enough change in the 'arrangement', that another title could be affixed identifying the original, but being a separate work. You've heard it Lizzy. Does it sound close enough to the original to be considered one and the same?
~ The smell of perfume in the air, bits of beauty everywhere ~ Leonard Cohen.
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lizzytysh
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby lizzytysh » Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:12 am

Yes, it did, Linda; so maybe it was an issue other than copyright. I remember that the reason was mentioned at some point somewhere. You know how that can be :roll: .


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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dick
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby dick » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:52 pm

I got an email indicating mine had been shipped -- and think Joe Way posted he got his from amazon.

this from New Yorker magazine:

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/m ... rentPage=1

THE ENDLESS SCROLL New works by Philip Glass. by Alex Ross NOVEMBER 5, 2007

Philip Glass is without a doubt America’s most famous living composer of classical music. In fact, he may be America’s only famous living composer of classical music—the single one who would draw nods of recognition (or irritation) if you were to start waving eight-by-ten glossies of modern-music masters at passersby in Times Square. His Hollywood film scores, his collaborations with pop stars such as David Bowie and Linda Ronstadt, his ubiquity as a purveyor of motorized musical melancholy, all have placed him at an altitude of celebrity that eludes even the loftiest of his colleagues—Steve Reich, John Adams, Elliott Carter, and the rest.

Yet Glass’s seventieth birthday, which fell on January 31st of this year, failed to create much hullabaloo in the ordinarily anniversary-addicted classical world. Last year, when Reich turned seventy, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and BAM joined forces to present a month of celebratory concerts. Glass, on the other hand, has been more or less overlooked at New York’s culture palaces. The obvious explanation is that his intellectual reputation is not nearly as secure as that of Reich, his old Juilliard classmate and minimalist comrade. New-music mavens bestow varying degrees of respect and awe on Glass’s major achievements of the nineteen-seventies—the evening-length instrumental cycle “Music in Twelve Parts,” the mind-bending music-theatre event “Einstein on the Beach”—but they’re apt to dismiss his post-1980 output, even if few can claim to have heard all of the fifty or so works that have cropped up in the present decade alone.

Quantity is the problem: Glass writes faster than most of us can listen. In this respect, he resembles two earlier twentieth-century figures, Paul Hindemith and Darius Milhaud, both of whom shifted in middle age from a brazenly youthful style to a mature, workmanlike one, generating hundreds of semi-interchangeable works. Hindemith was often linked to the concept of “music for use”: if asked to write a piece for three bassoons and ukulele, he would comply, not worrying about the approval of the invisible judges of posterity. In the face of such Stakhanovite productivity, the listener is tempted to throw up his hands in frustration and dismiss the entire catalogue as so much musical scribbling. But it’s worth taking the trouble to discover first-rate pieces amid the reams of pretty good ones. Certainly, no one can deny that Glass possesses an instantly recognizable signature sound; the question now is whether that signature is being produced by automatic pen.

Controversy surrounds Glass’s music, but there is little disagreement over Glass the man. In the cash-strapped, attention-deprived world of contemporary music, he is prized for his generosity and humility. Last month, the Paula Cooper gallery hosted a gala for the MATA Festival, a young composers’ series that Glass co-founded ten years ago. At one point, the composer Lisa Bielawa praised Glass’s “quiet,” “silent,” and “private” support for younger composers of many different stylistic persuasions, even those who resist his influence. Glass stared at the floor while Bielawa talked. After the concert, he shook a few hands and walked alone into the Chelsea night, no doubt planning next week’s oratorio.

Two big new Glass works had their premières this year: the two-act opera “Appomattox,” which was recently given its first performance at the San Francisco Opera, and “Book of Longing,” a hundred-minute song cycle based on texts by Leonard Cohen, which played first in Toronto and came to the Lincoln Center Festival in July. Around the same time, Glimmerglass Opera presented an elegant revival of Glass’s 1993 opera “Orphée,” an ingenious adaptation of the script of Jean Cocteau’s film of the same name. Glass won’t be neglected in New York over the long term: in the spring, the Metropolitan Opera will present a revival of the 1980 opera “Satyagraha,” and Gerard Mortier, the incoming director of New York City Opera, has promised a long-overdue revival of “Einstein on the Beach.” Meanwhile, recordings of Glass music seem to arrive about once every two weeks from Orange Mountain Music, the composer’s own label.

To encounter a new Glass work these days is to pass through a familiar sequence of emotions. More often than not, you start with a disappointed sense of déjà vu: a rapid onset of churning arpeggios and chugging minor-key progressions dashes any hope that the composer may have struck off in a startling new direction. At times, it seems as though he had launched Microsoft Arpeggio on a computer and gone off to have tea with, say, Richard Gere. But marvellous things can happen when the composer’s attention is fully engaged. In the Cohen cycle, the expected stretches of prefab Glass periodically give way to sharply characterized solos for cello, oboe, violin, saxophone, and double-bass. These set the stage for a potent reimagining of Cohen’s song “You Came to Me This Morning”—it becomes a languid ballad somewhat reminiscent of the Kurt Weill of “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny,” driven along by an ominously seething ensemble accompaniment. In the right context, Glass’s music releases unexpected energies: those dark broken chords can unscroll like the writing on the wall.

“Appomattox,” a dramatization of the last days of the Civil War, with a libretto by the British playwright Christopher Hampton, starts with fifteen solid minutes of déjà vu. Conversations among the familiar principals—Lincoln and Grant, Robert E. Lee and his wife—are rendered in sometimes awkward vocal lines; there’s a creaky documentary feel. Later in the act, the opera comes alive. The burning of Richmond, the Confederate capital, is conveyed in a nightmarish sequence that has some of the barrelling energy of the opening movement of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony; festive touches in the orchestra, from glittering percussion to booming tuba, ironically undercut the grim imagery onstage. The figure of Lee takes on tragic dimensions; he is superbly portrayed by the baritone Dwayne Croft as a man fighting with all his heart for a cause in which he does not fully believe. In Act II, Hampton’s artful libretto begins leaping forward in time: to the rollback of civil rights during Reconstruction, to the brutal confrontations of the nineteen-fifties and sixties, and, finally, to the confused racial landscape of the present day. Close to the end, the stage is given over to Edgar Ray Killen, a former Klansman who was belatedly convicted, two years ago, of participating in the murder of civil-rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1964. Sung with snarling intensity by the bass-baritone Philip Skinner, Killen delivers a taut, high-flying aria of unrepentant hatred, ending with the question “Am I right?” Despite its flaws, “Appomattox” makes its points with blunt moral force, next to which most contemporary American operas seem timid.

The most consistently inspired of recent Glass pieces is the Eighth Symphony, which had its première in 2005, and which Orange Mountain Music has recorded with Dennis Russell Davies and the Bruckner Orchestra Linz. Against all odds, this work succeeds in adding something certifiably new to the overstuffed annals of the classical symphony. There are three sections: a twenty-minute movement in moderate tempo, a twelve-minute passacaglia slow movement, and a final movement that is slightly slower than the second and about half as long. The musical material is cut from familiar fabric, but it’s striking that the composer forgoes the expected bustling conclusion and instead delves into a mood of deepening twilight and unending night. The first time I heard the CD, I found myself staring into space for several long minutes, surprised by the enveloping sadness of the symphony’s ending. And surprise is what has been missing from much post-“Einstein” Glass.

Has Glass entered the late-period renaissance that his admirers have long awaited? Maybe so, although no one should discount all that other work in his catalogue, even those middling pieces which seem to fade away immediately after they have been heard. Glass is really a composer in the spirit of the Baroque, producing music on demand, tailoring each piece to the occasion. He is the determined antithesis of the Romantic artist, the one who writes in suffering secret for a posthumous public. This is perhaps the most significant message that Glass delivers to the young composers whom he assists behind the scenes: stop dreaming of Beethoven and get your music played. ♦
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Joe Way
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby Joe Way » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:48 am

Hi Linda, Kush, Dick & all-

I've sort of become addicted to this cd. I can't seem to get enough of it at this point. I have much to say but probably not a lot tonight. First of all thanks so much Linda for the kind words and for answering Kush's question. It was indeed, A Sip Of Wine, that I was referring to as "Boogie Street" which was its name on TNS.

I've been stuck on the 2nd CD because I absolutely love the first cut, "This Morning I Woke Up Again" with its great rhythm. The arpeggios (sp?) remind me of the early guitar style that Leonard employed and the percussion has a similar pattern to "Democracy." I know that this was not intentional, but I suspect that both Leonard & Glass recognized a certain pattern in the words that lends itself to this type of treatment.

I think that it is important for us to realize, though, that this is Philip Glass's work. To put it in perspective, as richardrj put it, the composer is primary. It wasn't until this past weekend that I learned that there was a librettist for Handel's "Messiah." His name was Charles Jennings and he took the words from the King James Bible. We should look at this work as something that was inspired by Leonard. Glass certainly didn't start out to showcase Leonard's words in their most focused, best, presentation-he simply is using Leonard's words to provide a perspective for the music that he writes. It is an important distinction and one that we all should realize before being too critical of the musical treatment. My intention is certainly not to try to convert anyone into a Glass fan, but I've always tried to "notice" things in music and it has served me well. The emotional, guttural reaction to those works that serve as touchstones to our lives-and I think that I can include all of us here in this description who have appreciated a certain strain of Leonard's work whether from long ago or recently; these emotional responses resonate within us on a different plane and create almost impossible expectations when it comes to hearing Leonard's words.

The overall "form" of the work is magnificent-Glass did a wonderful job of selecting poems and putting them into an order that makes a great deal of sense and builds emotionally toward a climax with a quiet denouement and highlights all that makes Leonard's work great. I'll write a little more about some of my observations and highlights later, but I, at least, wanted to put this forward now. Bob Dylan & Leonard along with a few other folks have certainly changed many expectations about musical performance. Those of you who are put off by the trained voices, controlled diaphrams, dramatic phrasing and careful enunciations are the products of the way that popular music has changed over the years. When folks like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen etc. were breaking into the business-I can assure you that their lack of musical singing ability, at least according to the standards of the day, was not considered an asset. Now, many of us are put off by the trained voice in that it doesn't seem natural (I'm not one of those).

I'll write more later about my impressions of the work.

Joe
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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linda_lakeside
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby linda_lakeside » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:12 am

Well, I can certainly be swayed by the opinion of others. My own experience with Glass was that I found his work (before BOL) to be plodding and terribly monotonous. I have experience with 'new music', or at least, that is what it was called back then. I wasn't fascinated. In the same way I wasn't fascinated with Glass' arrangements of whatever it was I happened in on one night, not so long ago.

Still, I'm not stuck in neutral. My first impressions were my impressions of a work sans any input from Leonard at all. I respect the opinions of all the posters here, and I would suppose that I'll just have to decide for myself.

I do like opera, and trained voices, but I don't normally like those 'trained voices' outside of an opera setting. It's like trying to listen to Leontyne Price sing 'Up, Up and Away', it doesn't work for me. Kush' s depiction of buying a sound system with no sub-woofer, doesn't bode well, either. Another wonderful array of opinion, and as Lizzy said, it is rather fitting. I suppose there is only one thing to do. I'm always surprised at how much one can learn by just leaning over the virtual table and eavesdropping a bit. It won't hurt to be wrong. In fact, I hope that the present majority is right. I can then join the ranks of the majority (for a change ;))

Thanks for being so kind, Joe, and I appreciate the opinions of all others, esp. richard. Early on I thought it was 'impossible' to embrace this album - but - I won't know until I hear it. Again, much like DOALM. Only more so.
~ The smell of perfume in the air, bits of beauty everywhere ~ Leonard Cohen.
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby lizzytysh » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:50 pm

Hi Joe and Linda ~

I, too, love the sound of trained voices, as well as opera. It wasn't the trained voices that put me off, as there are many emotionally-charged ones that both inspire and bring my heart to its knees. No point in rehashing what put me off... the speakers feeling aimed directly at me, for one thing ;-) ... what I really want to focus on is someone [as you are doing, Joe] pointing out particular things to listen for, which I can appreciate. Hence, I look forward to more specifics from you... and since, despite my own reaction, I've remained open-minded about this from the beginning, I remain interested in where I'll end up with it all.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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tomsakic
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby tomsakic » Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:07 pm

Well, since i got it around New Year, I became quite a fan of this CD. Although I think that the marriage of some poems with musical background isnt' a happy one (My mother is not dead i.e.) and that singer sometimes fight with Glass's music, but as I always loved Glass (although this sounds like usual Glass ... The Hours or anything he wrote lately, plus Lloyd-Webber singing), I found myself singing much of the songs while working and I listened to CDs at least 25 times in last two weeks......... Favourite parts are instrumentals after/before Leonard's recitations and instrumentals between verses, I have impression like somebody left Glass out of chain in those moments. Like Puppets, one of my favourites.
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LuNo
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby LuNo » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:21 am

Hello,
I got my BoL copy last weekend and after hearing it I was puzzled as I was not challenged by the music as I did expect but, on the other hand, was unable to recognise LC's own style (that was predicted safely).
My feelings are that Glass composed and arranged the tunes as if they're meant for a musical to be staged on Broadway, and when listening to the work I kept my eyes shut and tried to imagine a play that could have such songs.
This is an added (great) dimension to my experience with LC's works - I guess I have to deepen it in the old PinkFloyd-psychedelic way (lights down, smoking a joint and hearing the CD in quadrophonic-surround emulated sound). 8)
The less good is to miss LC's own style on the music making. Like it or not, each poem has its own breathing rythm and from that comes the music that is buried in the poem - LC's songwriting craft is to unearth it for the rest of us to understand better.
I'd love to see the work staged as play (even as non-sense story), but if it never happens I will be happy by dreaming it once in while.
Luis

It's easy: All you need is Love [John Lennon]
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linda_lakeside
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Re: Book of Longing CD

Postby linda_lakeside » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:42 am

It's interesting all the differing opinions I've heard of this work. Many can't get their heads around Leonard outside of his 'old self'. I admit, I'm one of those people. Yet, he is an artist. We think of him as a singer/songwriter/poet - but he is an artist, and what good artist doesn't want to stretch a bit? It would be unfair to criticize him for doing just that. Getting out of old habits and refreshing his experience by doing something totally different? Also, his singing voice has taken a beating over the years, so what better than Leonard reciting works that mean something to him. He's no longer the 'Thin Gypsy Thief'. His experience has changed and he with it. I still haven't got my copy - but I will. I listen to classical music quite a bit. I loved Master Poems - so I don't know why I can't enjoy this latest offering. Or, at least give it a chance. I still have all my 'old Leonard' works. This will just be a different side of him. He's 73, and it would be rude to think that he hasn't grown as an artist or as a man. Of course, he's changed, and I may as well buy the CD, and see what he's done recently.
~ The smell of perfume in the air, bits of beauty everywhere ~ Leonard Cohen.

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