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
Composed by Philip Glass and based on the poetry of Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing is a song cycle composed for ensemble, singers, spoken word and imagery. The culmination of years of mutual admiration between two of the most celebrated musical artists of their generation, the piece features new music by Philip Glass that is inspired by Cohen’s collection of poems and his artwork of the same name.