Leonard Cohen and me:

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John MacKenna broached the possibility of a collaboration on a requiem for stage, in memory of young people who had died.

it was late May 2016. I emailed Leonard Cohen, a friend of 30 years, and asked whether, together, we might create such a work. The reply came within an hour: I’m a Jewish Buddhist, you’re an agnostic Quaker, where do we begin?

Over the following weeks, I outlined my idea in greater detail: a requiem for stage, shaped on the liturgy of the Mass but using only Leonard’s words and music to create that liturgy. I had spent days and nights listening and re-listening to his songs and reading through his poetry collections – in particular, Book of Mercy. I sent him an outline of what I had in mind and, over the following months, the emails came and went with suggestions and recommendations. Leonard sent me a poem I hadn’t seen before. The text began to take shape, as did the central roles of the mother and father of the dead child and the celebrant who, in spite of his loss of faith, must celebrate this final, heartbreakingly important Mass. (Source IrishTIme- to read the full article click here)https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/leonard-cohen-and-me-how-a-jewish-buddhist-and-an-agnostic-became-creative-partners-1.3983947

By mid-October 2016, the work was complete. On October 23rd an email arrived from Leonard: Anything of mine you wish to use, feel free to use it. I knew Leonard was ill but not how ill. That solitary one-liner didn’t raise any questions; I read it as an encouragement. From time to time one-liners would arrive. On my 60th birthday the message had said simply: I warned you this would happen.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A collection of more than 50 love letters written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen to the woman who inspired “So Long, Marianne” has sold for $876,000, with many going for more than five times their pre-sale estimates, Christie’s auction house said.

The archive of letters from Cohen to Marianne Ihlen chronicles their 1960s love affair and the blossoming of Cohen’s career from struggling poet to famous musician.(Source: Reuters)

The top letter, in which Cohen wrote in December 1960 about being “alone with the vast dictionaries of language,” fetched $56,250 compared to an original high estimate of $10,000.

A 1964 letter, in which Cohen wrote “I am famous but empty,” went for $35,000, Christie’s said.

Cohen and the Norwegian-born Ihlen met on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960 and she became the inspiration for several of his best-known songs, including “Bird on a Wire,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” and the 1967 track “So Long, Marianne.”

Adam Cohen, who is working to complete them. A new album, he says, can be expected next year.(Source CBC Radio.ca to read the full article clic here)cohen

“I was tasked with finishing a few more songs of his that we started together on the last album, so his voice is literally still in my life.

It’s a bizarre and delicious entanglement,” Adam told q’s Tom Power during a discussion about The Flame, a book of previously unpublished poems by his father, due out Oct. 2.

“To make a long story short, I believe that there are some really beautiful new songs of Leonard Cohen that no one’s heard that are at some point going to come out.”

Adam, who also produced Leonard’s last album, You Want it Darker, released just three weeks before his death, says that the breadth of the recorded poems is “extraordinary.”

There are these songs that exist that he wanted finished, these incredible powerful readings that were set to music – Adam Cohen.
He explains that, while they were making You Want it Darker, “I would implore him, even though I knew he was in a delicate state, I’d say, ‘Dad, just read this, just read this poem to a metronome and we’ll look at it later.’ Some of my favourite poems of his are actually in the vault and I was tasked with finishing them.”

To mark Leonard Cohen’s birthday (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016), his final book of poetry, The Flame, will be published October the 2nd 2018, Cohen finished the book before his death, in November 2016, at age 82.
The Flame, as “an enormously powerful final chapter in Cohen’s storied literary career”, publisher Canongate said that the Canadian singer-songwriter had chosen and ordered the poems in the months before his death in November 2016. T

he overwhelming majority of the book, which will be published next October, will be new material, it added.

While You Want it Darker saw Cohen largely reflecting on death, Adam says the unreleased recordings are very different in tone.

 

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