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A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen [Format Kindle]

Liel Leibovitz

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Brings to life a passionate poet-turned-musician and what compels him and his work.

Why is it that Leonard Cohen receives the sort of reverence we reserve for a precious few living artists? Why are his songs, three or four decades after their original release, suddenly gracing the charts, blockbuster movie sound tracks, and television singing competitions? And why is it that while most of his contemporaries are either long dead or engaged in uninspired nostalgia tours, Cohen is at the peak of his powers and popularity?

These are the questions at the heart of A Broken Hallelujah, a meditation on the singer, his music, and the ideas and beliefs at its core. Granted extraordinary access to Cohen’s personal papers, Liel Leibovitz examines the intricacies of the man whose performing career began with a crippling bout of stage fright, yet who, only a few years later, tamed a rowdy crowd on the Isle of Wight, preventing further violence; the artist who had gone from a successful world tour and a movie star girlfriend to a long residency in a remote Zen retreat; and the rare spiritual seeker for whom the principles of traditional Judaism, the tenets of Zen Buddhism, and the iconography of Christianity all align. The portrait that emerges is that of an artist attuned to notions of justice, lust, longing, loneliness, and redemption, and possessing the sort of voice and vision commonly reserved only for the prophets.

More than just an account of Cohen’s life, A Broken Hallelujah is an intimate look at the artist that is as emotionally astute as it is philosophically observant. Delving into the sources and meaning of Cohen’s work, Leibovitz beautifully illuminates what Cohen is telling us and why we listen so intensely.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2380 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 289 pages
  • Editeur : W. W. Norton & Company; Édition : 1 (14 avril 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00FPT5MS6
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°28.655 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  30 commentaires
28 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 This slender volume has very specific concerns, which are rendered deftly through a number of haunting episodes 23 avril 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Liel Leibovitz begins the preface to his biography of Leonard Cohen with the following assertion: “This is not a biography of Leonard Cohen.” What are we to make of such a claim? Pure affectation? Perhaps. It’s certainly a bold opening line, and as a critic, it rather pulls the rug from under your feet; you no longer have a fixed lens through which to view the book.

As one progresses through A BROKEN HALLELUJAH, it becomes ever clearer how this is not a conventional biography. For one thing, it is very much on the short side. Leibovitz does not cram his book with every scrap of information he can scour concerning his subject’s life; he does not present us with Cohen’s every adolescent pimple, nor do we see the poet/singer brushing his teeth at night or practicing his guitar in the mornings. This slender volume has very specific concerns, which are rendered deftly through a number of haunting episodes. Leibovitz sets out not to write yet another life of a musician, not really to see him as a singer at all, but to imagine him as a kind of Old Testament Prophet. “So what is the Prophet Cohen telling us?” he asks at the end of his preface. “And why do we listen so intently?”

To a secular Jew such as myself, this is both an appealing and a suspect premise. On the one hand, Laughing Lenny is just the sort of prophet I can get on board with. After all, one does not recall Isaiah or Elijah writing about getting “head/ On the unmade bed” the way Cohen does. On the other hand, there is the nagging fear that this is another tired attempt to make religion “cool” to an increasingly secularized society. This gives Leibovitz a precarious road to follow, and he treads it judiciously.

The religiosity of Cohen’s lyrics has been apparent from his first record. The archetypal stranger is in his words “just some Joseph looking for a manger”; in another early song, a woman clutches her lover desperately, as though he is “some kind of crucifix.” Despite the overtly Christian bent of these allusions (and many of Cohen’s other lyrics), Liebovitz does a fine job of setting Cohen up as a figure whose home is really amidst the leaders found in the Torah. The grandson of a Talmudic scholar, Cohen never renounced his Jewish identity despite spending long periods studying with a Zen Buddhist. In a few glittering moments, Leibovitz brings Cohen the prophet standing magnificently before us. At the disastrously anarchic Isle of White festival, he tames an angry mob of 600,000 people by telling them a “goddamn bedtime story.” Shades of Daniel taming the lions abound. As a child whose father has just died, Cohen writes a message to his deceased parent, wraps it up in his father’s tie, and buries it in the garden of the family home. It is a ritual no less moving than the chanting of the Mourner’s Kaddish.

Inevitably, the grandeur of Leibovitz’s vision of Leonard Cohen sometimes overstretches itself. For instance, on Cohen’s decision to ditch the classical guitar in favor of those now hopelessly dated keyboard-generated backing tracks, Leibovitz writes, “If the guitar had been the instrument to write songs that played out like diary entries, the Casio was a portal to a higher plain of consciousness.” If spiritual transcendence were so easily achieved, it would be a wonder we needed prophets at all. Still though, overreaching is far from the greatest fault in a biographer, and this unusual synthesis of Jewish theology and pop music history makes for an amusing and thoughtful little book. Finally, Cohen’s message to us, as transcribed by Leibovitz, is one that is simple enough but quite beautiful. “All that humans [can] do” he writes, “[is] go about life, admit defeat, and try to find beauty in all that remained.”

Reviewed by Frederick Lloyd
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Beautiful 3 mai 2014
Par AudreyLM - Publié sur Amazon.com
A beautifully written, soulful work, worthy of its subject. I bought it on Audible so also had the pleasure of hearing it read by the author.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Hard going.... 8 juillet 2014
Par John Clavin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I found 'A Broken Hallelujah' to be pretty heavy going, and ultimately neither terribly interesting, insightful, nor entertaining. The author has a fairly ponderous style and spends far more time wandering off into Judaic mysticism and poetic method with infrequent ties back to how it was relevant to Cohen's life or work, than he does looking at some of the great events and peer influences of the time that informed the messages of Cohen's work.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Liel Left Me Wanting More 13 avril 2014
Par Martin Grossman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I would have given it five stars if it had been a bit longer and included more detail. It seemed somewhat rushed.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Survey of the Life, Art and Times of Leonard Cohen 15 janvier 2015
Par Loves the View - Publié sur Amazon.com
This unconventional artist needs an unconventional book. Author Leil Liebovitz has delivered, mixing his chronology with artistic and social commentary. You learn how Leonard Cohen was shaped by his Jewish heritage and his Canadian upbringing, how he became a poet and how he put the poems to music. At times the author is as poetic as his subject.

The book has only 246 short pages. The content is good but not all of it is on Cohen. There are pages devoted to related subjects such as Canadian literature, Jewish history and Bob Dylan. In the first chapter "Prelude", Cohen does not emerge for 12 pages.

There are some good insights such as the difference in Canadian and American artists, the concept of "duende" (which suits Cohen's voice and content) and Cohen's views on his work. There are amazing episodes such as the visit to/escape from Cuba, recording with Phil Spector (dinner with Phil Spector!) and the two performance tours in Israel.

Liebovitz, in some places uses Cohen's own words to describe him. His opening to his audience in Poland shows how he refuses to be used by anyone (to me, they related to the episode where Dylan seems to expect Cohen to perform at his concert); his speech in support of the Bereaved Parents for Peace in Israel shows his long apolitical view; and his reflection on the embezzlement of most of his assets show his forgiveness and resilience.

Each chapter is introduced with a full page photo of Cohen, so you watch him mature. As of this writing he is 80 and has maintained audiences through at least 4 generations (depending on how you count, maybe 5). He has just released a new album and in 2013 performed in tours in Europe and the US.

If you are a fan of Cohen you probably know all the biographical material that is eliminated or pruned and will appreciate the commentary and insight.
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