Leonard Cohen Concert Video: Sharon Robinson Performs Alexandra Leaving – New Orleans 2013

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[Sharon Robinson’s] rendition of Alexandra Leaving is the epitome of style and dignity. Her voice is incredible and she holds the crowds rapt. I can’t find words to signify just how intense it was.quotedown2

 

This description, found at From All Your Children Here – Leonard Cohen in Lucca, was written by Jonnie Falafel, who also has good things to say about Mr Cohen in this review of the July 9, 2013 Lucca concert. Posted July 10, 2013 at Breakfast In Tuscany.

I cannot locate a high quality video of Sharon Robinson’s Lucca performance of  Alexandra Leaving, so I am posting instead her March 28, 2013. rendition of that song at the Mahalia Jackson Theater, New Orleans.

Sharon Robinson – Alexandra Leaving
Mahalia Jackson Theater, New Orleans: March 28, 2013
Video by Wirebirds

Leonard Cohen Video: Sharon Robinson Performs Alexandra Leaving – Brussels 2013

sharonAs someone long prepared for the occasion
In full command of every plan you wrecked
Do not choose a coward’s explanation
that hides behind the cause and the effect

Leonard Cohen, featuring Sharon Robinson – Alexandra Leaving
Brussels: June 30, 2013
Video by albertnoonan

Note: Originally posted July 6, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Videos: Comparing The Incomparable Sharon Robinson’s 2010 & 2012 Leonard Cohen Tour Solos

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Featuring Sharon Robinson

During the 2008-2010 Leonard Cohen World Tour, Sharon Robinson won praise as the featured soloist on “Boogie Street.”  In 2012, her solo turn on “Alexandra Leaving” was a highlight of the Leonard Cohen Old Ideas Tour concerts.

Both “Boogie Street” and “Alexandra Leaving” were written by Sharon Robinson and Leonard Cohen in collaboration.  For more about Sharon Robinson’s career and, especially, her work with Leonard Cohen, see Why Leonard Cohen Calls Her “The Incomparable Sharon Robinson” and Sharon Robinson On Career Choice, Leonard Cohen, Ann-Margaret, Songwriting, Tour Surprises, … And My Dance Moves.

Today’s post offers a video of a great performance by Sharon Robinson of each of these songs,

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Sharon Robinson – Boogie Street
Piazza Santa Croce, Florence
Sept 3, 2010
Video by albertnoonan

Sharon Robinson – Alexandra Leaving
Olympia Music Hall, Paris
Sept 29, 2012
Video by albertnoonan

Credit Due Department: Both of the superb photos of Sharon Robinson appearing in this post were taken by Marc Roed at the Aug 26, 2012 Leonard Cohen Aalborg concert. Originally posted at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Sharon Robinson’s Impeccable Performance Of Alexandra Leaving – 2012 Leonard Cohen Ghent Concert

And you who were bewildered by a meaning
Whose code was broken, crucifix uncrossed
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost

Sharon Robinson inevitably performs Alexandra Leaving, a song she and Leonard Cohen co-wrote, with overwhelming intensity and power. In this solo effort at the August 14, 2012 Ghent show, she outdoes herself.

Sharon Robinson – Alexandra Leaving
Ghent – Aug 14, 2012
Video by

Note: Originally posted Aug 19, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

From Alexandria to Alexandra: Parallel Visions of Loss in Cavafy and Cohen

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Constantine Cavafy & Leonard Cohen

Guest Post: By Kutay Onaylı

Note: This essay may be read below or downloaded n PDF format at From Alexandria to Alexandra-PDF

Leonard Cohen’s song-poem “Alexandra Leaving,” at first glance, is a rather simple refashioning of Constantine Cavafy’s “The God Abandons Antony”: a similarly-named woman replaces the city as an object of loss, resulting in the creation of a tale of failed romantic love that is commonplace in Cohen’s repertoire. A more careful reading of Cohen’s work, however, would reveal that there is more to the adaptation than a dropping of the letter i: Cohen does not only restate the story Cavafy tells in “Antony” in a different framework but also expands and modifies it. This paper is an attempt at outlining some of the deliberate additions and reductions Cohen made to create an Alexandra that represents, in the same way that Cavafy’s Alexandria is more than a mere re-telling of Plutarch, not a mere lost lover but a vision of loss and dignity that is derived from and remains in strong dialogue with that of Cavafy.

The first important departure Cohen makes in his adaption of Cavafy’s work is the removal of the “invisible procession.” In “The God Abandons Antony,” the procession that announces Alexandria’s loss is introduced as early as the second line of the poem and is referred back to over and over again through the work. Cavafy clearly connects the sounds heard by the person spoken to by the narrator to this procession at least twice in the poem: The lines “when suddenly, at midnight, you hear/ an invisible procession going by/ with exquisite music, voices,” and “listen…to the voices/ to the exquisite music of that strange procession,” constitute one fifth of the entire work and provide the framework the rest of the narrative takes place in. In Cohen’s version, however, there is absolutely no mention of the procession—the initial sensory experience that happens “suddenly” is instead that “the night has grown colder.” The movement, furthermore, is modified to come not from outside the window but from inside a dwelling and the individual himself when Cohen says: “the god of love preparing to depart./ Alexandra hoisted on his shoulder, they slip between the sentries of the heart.” Hearing –and taste, an addition Cohen makes- is introduced with the line “They fall amongst the voices and the wine.” and referred back to with “Go firmly to the window. Drink it in./ Exquisite music. Alexandra laughing.” In both lines, the source of the sensory experience remains unclear. This deliberate unclarity, in combination to the references to wine (and the connection formed between the voices and the wine, evoking a tavern-like setting) and the audibility of Alexandra’s laughter from afar indicate that the thing that is being lost is moving across space and time—essentially echoing Cavafy’s representation of Alexandria as a space and time that is transforming into something different than Anthony’s Alexandria. Cohen, however, in expressing his perception of the phenomenon of loss, makes the “procession” literally invisible in his verses and buries the source of the sensory experience within the object of loss itself.

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Video: Sharon Robinson Sings Alexandra Leaving At 2011 Leonard Cohen Tribute

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Sharon Robinson (screen capture from Dec 4, 2011 video)

Sharon Robinson: Talented, Classy & Incomparable

As ongoing readers know, I am an unabashed fan of Sharon Robinson’s singing and songwriting prowess as well as admiring her graciousness and charm.  Consequently, it’s no surprise that I was delighted to discover a video of her performing Alexandra Leaving at the Dec 4, 2011 Leonard Cohen Tribute Concert, which was the final event of “Imagining Our Future, A day of Jewish learning and culture” sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

Sharon Robinson – Alexandra Leaving
Las Angeles: Dec 4, 2011
Video by Arlene Dick

Note: Originally posted Dec 7, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric