Tonight, at the Banff Centre, a cultural beacon alight in the majestic Rocky Mountains since 1933, Canada’s amazing Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents an exciting and inspiring mixed program of dance from three exceptional choreographers: “Quantz by Quanz” (Peter Quanz); “The Doorway” (Jorden Morris); “Pas D’Action” (Brian Macdonald).
“The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen”, choreographed by Jorden Morris, lattices interviews/spoken word recordings, along with: "The Letters" performed by Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes for the CD "Dear Heather"; "Bird on a Wire" as recorded by Adam Cohen for the compilation “A Song for My Father”; "Hallelujah" – the “Tidings” album recording by Allison Crowe; "Since You Asked", a poem composed by Judy Collins and recited by Leonard Cohen from the CD "Born to the Breed”; and "Sisters of Mercy" recorded live by iconic US singer-songwriter Cris Williamson on the CD "Circle of Friends".
The RWB was the first company anywhere in the world to stage a production melding works of the Montreal-born singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist – presenting "The Shining People of Leonard Cohen", with choreography by Brian Macdonald, in 1970. Choreographer Jorden Morris’ “The Doorway” opened in 2012 and, again, represents a company uniquely in tune with the zeitgeist.
Cohen, at age 79, is today enjoying universal appreciation of his works. “Hallelujah” is a much-loved modern standard. His recordings, from “Suzanne” to “The Darkness”+, remain as popular now as the day of their release. A key to such timeless appeal was revealed some years back - when asked by an interviewer about the impact of commercialization, the songwriter explained:
“Well, each person here at this table is a victim of the commercialization of life. I’m sure I haven’t escaped. But I can say one thing - I have been tempted by the money. I have been tempted by the glory... I don’t think there is any man that can escape those temptations. But I feel that I have not put out any songs that were designed to exploit the commercial market.”
Allison Crowe’s first release of “Hallelujah” was over ten years ago – music.allisoncrowe.com/track/hallelujah - and, it, too, has continued to increase in resonance since the “Tidings” EP of 2003. Here, in video form, Allison performs Cohen’s song - captured in real-time by film director Alex Postowoi and crew and audio engineer Larry Anschell at Turtle Recording by-the-sea in White Rock, BC, Canada. (As with recent Beatles’ interpretations from this same live-in-the-studio session, this is in higher-fidelity than has been previously available.)
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