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Book of Longing CD

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:31 pm
by dick
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/arts/ ... bdX6bHFdLQ

By THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: November 11, 2007
PHILIP GLASS: 'Book of Longing'

Leonard Cohen, speaker; vocalists; instrumental ensemble, conducted by Michael Riesman. Orange Mountain Music OMM0043; CD.

A BENEFIT of running your own record company is that you can get your projects out almost before the ink dries. And Philip Glass, who plows through score paper by the ream, clearly doesn't want to fall far behind. His hot work this summer — before "Appomattox," his hot work of the fall — was "Book of Longing," a collaboration with the poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen. A cycle of 22 songs, the work had its premiere in Toronto in June and turned up at Lincoln Center in July.

Mr. Cohen's poetry, like his song lyrics, explores his fascination with both spirituality and carnality, his failures as likely an inspiration as his successes. He writes with the same wit he has brought to his songs since the mid-1960s but with greater depth and concision. Off-kilter religiosity is a trademark: many of the poems are deeply rooted in Jewish imagery, but Mr. Cohen's struggle to master Buddhism is a recurring theme as well.

In bringing these texts to life Mr. Glass abandons many of his trademark gestures, or draws on them only in passing. Instead he provides graceful, constrained melodies that cling tightly to the texts and sometimes mirror Mr. Cohen's own style: a consequence, perhaps, of the natural cadence that weaves through Mr. Cohen's work. Mr. Glass's most striking contributions often come between the texts, in extended, virtuosic instrumental solos.

The instrumentalists play this music exquisitely. The singing, by vocalists drawn mostly from pop, jazz and theater, is purposely unpolished and sounds more rough-hewn and modest on disc than it did in concert. Mr. Cohen's baritonal readings, interspersed through the set, are a highlight. In concert he was heard on tape; here he seems as present (or not) as anyone else, an illusory part of the ensemble rather than a ghost in the machine.

ALLAN KOZINN

Since the poems were highlight for me, I like that the disk makes them feel more like "Cohen live."

Still going to miss the artwork, and don't think the cd brochure will be able to get enough, but we'll have to see. Placed my advance Amazon order yesterday for 11/27 release.

Re: Book of Longing cd review in NY Times

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:10 pm
by jarkko
Image

http://www.philipglass.com/music/record ... onging.php
Book of Longing
A Song Cycle based on the Poetry and Artwork of Leonard Cohen
(2007)
95'
Music by Philip Glass
Philip Glass/Leonard Cohen

CATALOG:
Orange Mountain Music OMM0043

TRACKS:

DISC 1
1. Prologue - I Can't Make The Hills 3:09
2. I Came Down from the Mountain 2:58
3. A Sip of Wine 8:41
4. Want to Fly 2:09
5. The Light Came Through the Window 4:10
6. Puppet Time 2:38
7. G-d Opened My Eyes 2:35
8. You Go Your Way 0:07
9. I Was Doing Something 4:19
10. Not a Jew 3:02
11. How Much I Love You 3:52
12. Babylon 5:46
13. I Enjoyed the Laughter 1:49

DISC 2
1. This Morning I Woke Up Again 5:15
2. I Want To Love You Now 5:57
3. Don't Have The Proof 2:44
4. The Night of Santiago 5:09
5. Mother Mother 3:44
6. You Came to Me 10:27
7. I Am Now Able 3:20
8. Roshi's Very Tired 2:38
9. Epilogue - Merely A Prayer 3:55


NOTES:
Leonard and I first began talking about a poetry and music collaboration more than six years ago. We met at that time in Los Angeles, and he had with him a manuscript that became the basis of the collection of poetry now published as the Book of Longing. In the course of an afternoon that stretched into the evening, he read virtually the whole book to me. I found the work intensely beautiful, personal, and inspiring. On the spot, I proposed an evening-length work of poetry, music, and image based on this work. Leonard liked my idea, and we agreed to begin. Now, six years later, our stars are in alignment, the book is published, and I have composed the music.

For me, this work is both a departure from past work and a fulfillment of an artistic dream.

-Philip Glass

CREDITS:
Philip Glass and Musicians
Michael Riesman, Music Director and Conductor

Leonard Cohen, spoken text
Dominique Plaisant, soprano
Tara Hugo, mezzo-soprano
Will Erat, tenor
Daniel Keeling, bass-baritone

Tim Fain, violin
Philip Glass, keyboard
Megan Marolf, oboe, english horn
Eleonore Oppenheim, double bass
Michael Riesman, conductor, keyboard
Mick Rossi, keyboard, percussion
Kate St. John, oboe, english horn
Andrew Sterman, flute, piccolo, saxophones, bass clarinet
Wendy Sutter, cello

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:16 pm
by Kush
Placed my advance Amazon order
..and so have I after hearing clips on Amazon. very intriguing music, almost a challenge....look forward to it. And hopefully it will lead to a fulfilling journey through Philip Glass' music which I had not been familiar with before.

p.s. went ahead and ordered Passages too (Philip Glass-Ravi Shankar). check it out on Amazon....sounds very cool!

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:04 pm
by tomsakic
All songs are previewed at http://www.amazon.com/Glass-Book-Longin ... 74&s=music, and it sounds like Cats meet Cohen Verses. We are going to miss Lewis Furey after all. And some people dare to say that Phil Spector missed Cohen's deepness.

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:27 pm
by lizzytysh
. . . and it sounds like Cats meet Cohen Verses. . . . And some people dare to say that Phil Spector missed Cohen's deepness.
:lol: Sorry, can't help myself.


~ Lizzy

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:27 pm
by tomsakic
I listened to all previews, and I think it's ridiculous. Any kind of verses culd be attached to such music. It's typical, first tune which comes t mind when you're doing musical piece in so-called modern classical music. Philip Glass can do much better as he is his own criterium adn made music for Quatsy trilogy and Einstein on the Beach and all that great stuff. The singing is ridiculous. The singing does sound like a Broadway musical. I don't believe that my impression would change when the double CD set arrives, but I will give it a try. Maybe such singing simply doesn't go with Leonard Cohen's texts. And we made laugh of Night Magic.

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:12 pm
by margaret
Tom Sakic wrote:The singing is ridiculous. The singing does sound like a Broadway musical. I don't believe that my impression would change when the double CD set arrives, but I will give it a try. Maybe such singing simply doesn't go with Leonard Cohen's texts. And we made laugh of Night Magic.
I agree this style does not sit easily with Leonard's words. It is the sort of performance which is better experienced live in a theatre combined with the visual, unless you happen to enjoy Broadway style musicals anyway! At The Barbican I was apprehensive and was pleasantly surprised by the performance, but the day itself and Leonards presence might have contributed to the experience ;-)

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:27 pm
by Anne
I have seen it twice now. I saw the premiere in Toronto and I also went to the Barbican show. I wanted to see how the show developed.
I do not think it is the strongest of Philip Glass's works. I tend to like his instrumental work the most.
I too have a problem with the Broadway style of singing. That is not a musical style I enjoy.
I think Philip Glass underused the recordings of Leonard Cohen's voice and overused poems that had already been turned into songs.
That being said, it was a fascinating experience to hear the words turned into something different and to see all of the drawings up in the background of the staging, especially things that I recognized only from the files!
But I am not asking for the CD for Christmas!

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:40 pm
by Henning
Even with the visual impression I didn't enjoy that enterprise much. It was acceptable Saturday evening entertainment, especially with the nice hall and knowing that Leonard was around and some friends. I never liked musicals except for Evita. I liked a bit of the instrumental parts and that was it. I don't need this CD.

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:58 pm
by lizzytysh
Due to my high-priced, premium seat and ideal vantage point, I still think I may have missed a thing or two ;-) . So, I'll need to experience the cd to get a better sense of it all; however, I'm a little confused by the Broadway comparison. I have recordings of a number of Broadway soundtracks and they are all very melodic, very memorable, and very easy to sing along to; and my recollection of the songs in this production is that they weren't any of these.


~ Lizzy

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:36 pm
by richardrj
Tom Sakic wrote:Maybe such singing simply doesn't go with Leonard Cohen's texts.
I fear you have got it the wrong way round. The problem is not with the music or singing, but with Cohen's texts, which are for the most part banal and forgettable.

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:23 am
by tomsakic
I am not so sure, I think it's vice versa - Leonard's texts are OK, but Glass' music is banal, and singing doesn't goes with the texts. It's simply two different world. But if the poems are so banal, maybe Glass should stick to somebody else's, and keep composing his own acceptable instrumental music, and leave Cohen to compose his own songs, at which he's much better than Glass in any case. The half of good authorship is in choosing the good text template, so Glass missed it completely. Maybe he should ask Elton John for the poems.

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:14 am
by hydriot
Aren't we all missing the point here? I wasn't terribly thrilled by Phillip Glass' composition, but I really didn't expect to be. We are a self-selecting sample. By definition, everyone posting on this forum is an admirer of Leonard's poetry and music.

But what I do think is significant about this event (and this CD) is that hopefully it is bringing Leonard's work to a wider audience. If it encourages Glass fans to explore Leonard's full canon, and even prompts them to buy tickets for Leonard's tour next year, then Book of Longing will have proven to be a resounding success.

Let's face it. The thing was never composed for us.

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:28 am
by dick
Complete agreement Hydriot

I also can't help but recall at the Barbican the two men stated with assurance their intention to collaborate further with Beautiful Losers the source.

Nobody makes anybody listen or purchase the material, but every new fan is a plus. Seems to me that no particular good comes from simply disdaining music that one doesn't like. Don't have a way of measuring for sure, but I fear that Glass is probably recognized more universally than Leonard.

Therefore, I offer enthusiastic support of the products as good for Leonard's career.

Re: Book of Longing CD

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:33 am
by lizzytysh
Yep, yep, and yep... at the core of things, I agree with both of you. I was thinking/hoping that Glass fans would discover Leonard through this and, if they're drawn to melody, will be supremely surprized when they actually reach Leonard's own presentations, as well as Anjani's.


~ Lizzy