Leonard Cohen: Dance Me To The End Of Love Arose From Photo Of Concentration Camp Musicians

quoteup2

This is a song that arose from a photograph that I saw when I was a child of some people in striped pajamas prison uniforms with violins playing beside a smoke stack and the smoke was made out of gypsies and children, and this song arose out of that photograph: Dance Me To The End Of Love.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s introduction to Dance Me To The End Of Love at the April 10, 1988 Koln concert. The photo is not, of course, the one described by Cohen but does show prisoner musicians at Camp Mauthausen.

More on this topic at

Leonard Cohen On Being Asked About The “Burning Violin” In Dance Me To The End Of Love

Dance me to your beauty
with a burning violin

Interviewer: What about the “burning violin” in “Dance Me To The End Of Love” ….

quoteup2
Although I don’t think anyone needs to know what gave me that image, there were these little orchestras the Germans put together in concentration camps. They played while people were being incinerated or gassed. If you want to read the song from that point of view, it becomes something quite different.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen: The Profits Of Doom by Steve Turner, Q (UK), April 1988.

More on this topic at

Leonard Cohen On The Evolution Of “First We Take Manhattan”

first
quoteup2
If the lyric [of First We Take Manhattan] was set to something more solemn or ponderous it would have bored me to death. If it didn’t have that kind of techno-pop counter-point the song would collapse. But these things aren’t done from a point of view of strategies. They just evolve. Like that song grew out of one called ‘In Old Berlin’, half of which went off to become ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love.’ And to get to where it is I had to go through five notebooks of maybe 50 verses, just slowly scratching away. I don’t have any strategies, even in my private life. Any I had collapsed years ago. It’s my music as much as any other music is.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)

Also see Leonard Cohen Credits Jeff Fisher For Rescue Of “First We Take Manhattan”

Leonard Cohen “There has always been a religious side to my work. Most of my songs have confused God and woman.”

quoteup2
There has always been a religious side to my work. Most of my songs have confused God and woman. In Dance Me To The End Of Love, I’m not trying to make it literal; I’m trying to make it sing.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Work Finds A Place by Mary Campbell (AP – Kentucky New Era: June 29, 1985). Note: Originally posted Sep 13, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Reveals Death Camps As Origin Of “Dance Me To The End Of Love”


quoteup2
‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ … it’s curious how songs begin because the origin of the song, every song, has a kind of grain or seed that somebody hands you or the world hands you and that’s why the process is so mysterious about writing a song. But that came from just hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, beside the crematoria, in certain of the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt. So, that music, ‘Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin,’ meaning the beauty there of being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation. But, it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved, so that the song — it’s not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, CBC Radio Interview (August 26, 1995). Originally posted May 14, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

More on this topic at