This Choral Rendition of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' is What We Need Right Now

Friday, November 11, 2016 - 07:32 PM

Leonard Cohen. A new biography illuminates the elusive life of Leonard Cohen. (courtesy of the publisher)

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter of hundreds of amazing and memorable songs, including ''Suzanne," "Bird on a Wire" and "So Long, Marianne," has died at age 82.

"My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles," Adam Cohen said in a statement Thursday. "He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor."

Cohen was originally a poet who wrote much in the vein of famous Beat poet Allen Ginsberg when he was young, but eventually became a musician. Late in life, Cohen also became an aspiring Zen Buddhist monk.

Cohen's songs were performed by hundreds of other artists and musicians, but no song was covered more than  "Hallelujah," a remarkable piece about spirituality, music and love. "Hallelujah" gained worldwide popularity in the early 1990s when it was recorded by New York singer Jeff Buckley, who himself died tragically when he drowned in the Mississippi River in 1997.

Here is "Hallelujah" recorded by 1,500 singers who came to Luminato Festival in Toronto to participate in a choir performance event featuring singer and composer Rufus Wainwright earlier this year. The event was arranged by the group Choir! Choir! Choir!.

Thank you Leonard for all of your amazing songs.


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Comments [17]

Leonard Cohen was sharing Jewish Mysticism with everyone. He was a great singer , songwriter and his songs were poetic prophecies in the tradition of the Jewish Prophets including Jesus who he often cites in his songs. So long Leonard you will be sorely missed. " Oseh Shalom Bimromov Who Yaaseh Shalom Alenu Ve Al Kol Yisrael Ve Imru Amen !!!!! Blessed be Leonard Cohen-You did good!!!!!

Nov. 26 2016 02:33 PM
Martha Fischler from US

I've been a fan of Mr. Cohen's work my entire adult life. I consider anything he wrote, whether it was the music or the words, complete truth and perfection. The world lost an impossibly brilliant talent on 7 November.

Nov. 25 2016 07:21 PM
Nancy from upstate NY

Thank you very much for this. Balm for us all in these weeks following the election and leading up to Thanksgiving. I have always enjoyed the song, learned to love it anew, of course, when my children discovered Shrek (as I am sure many others have as well). A nice rock and roll way to say Hallelujah for all we have and prayer for those who don't.

Nov. 24 2016 12:44 PM
bklynbug from Brooklyn

With so many versions of the Master available, I'm embarrassed by what you've chosen...

Master Jikan deserves better.

Nov. 20 2016 08:35 PM
Diane from roseland, nj

words escape but goosebumps rose as I sang along this morning and from the depths of my heart I am grateful.

Nov. 19 2016 10:45 AM
Justin from Connecticut from Avon, CT

When I was in high school back in ancient times, many of my friends in "the intellectual crowd', held Leonard Cohen in thrall and I simply did not get him. In fact, I thought he was hokey. Now that we have lost him, I have listened to his music with a hopefully more open and mature mind. I am overcome with his poetic brilliance, the spiritual yearning of his work, and its roots deep in Jewish mysticism. So all I can say is "Leonard, I hardly knew ya" and wish I had made your acquaintance many years ago. To quote one of my favorite lines, from the Movie "Cotton Club": "We learn as we go."

Nov. 18 2016 08:53 AM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

I wonder if he meant this as his own epitaph....

"I did my best, it wasn't much.
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch.
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah."

Nov. 17 2016 12:30 PM
Kevin Cook from Bronxville NY

What a great break in my afternoon at work - WQXR always playing and then this - thank you for sharing. A sacred song for people of every faith walk.

Nov. 16 2016 02:07 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you,for this---irrespective of whoever sings this song-it is a major work.My preference is Jeff Buckley but who cares --its the song that counts.Leonard Cohen will be remembered as a great poet and composer.
This video was very emotional for me on many levels.Thank you so much.

Nov. 15 2016 03:49 PM
Domenica Ruta from Brooklyn

Thank you!

Nov. 15 2016 09:38 AM
Tim Leary from Florida

I've been fond of Leonard Cohen for over four decades and am saddened by his passing. A huge talent with a great poetic heart and soul. However, I cannot listen to anything that Rufus Wainwright sings - he is possibly the worst popular singer of the modern era, with a delivery that, beside being often off-key, sounds like it is coming from a mouth stuffed with cotton batting.

Nov. 14 2016 09:59 AM
John J. Christiano` from Franklin NJ

The week before his death I was listening to various renditions of "Hallelujah" by himself, K.D. Lang, etc. I had heard it years ago and was suddenly drawn back to it last week on Youtube.

Nov. 14 2016 08:17 AM
Marsha Ostroff from Mexico City, Mexico

Dear Jolene,

Leonard Cohen practiced Zan Buddhism in his later years while still remaining a Jew.

Nov. 13 2016 12:05 PM
Sharon M from Fair Lawn, NJ

Thank you for this. It feels good. For those of you who wrote previously, please note that the word Hallelujah comes from the Hebrew bible, the "Old" testament.

Nov. 12 2016 08:33 PM
Jolene from Texas

But of course, the words that Leonard Cohen wrote were


especially, by the fact that he converted to be a Zen Buddhist.

The two faiths are irrevocably opposite.

Sorry. I did not do my homework before I wrote all of this.

Nov. 12 2016 02:16 PM
Jolene from Texas

I just found out that Leonard Cohen was a Jew.

He wrote this song, "Hallelujah" before he left his "home land".

Nov. 12 2016 11:37 AM
Jolene from Texas

Thank you! One of these days we will be singing "Hallelujah" with the angels when The Lord Jesus comes! God Bless You.

On a much smaller scale, I, also, appreciate the version of "A Hallelujah Christmas by Cloverton HD" - You Tube.

I appreciate your station, WQXR.

Nov. 12 2016 11:12 AM

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