domingo, 23 de octubre de 2011

Leonard Cohen, Prince of Asturias Award for Letters 2011


Leonard Cohen, a Canadian poet, novelist and singer-songwriter, was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters 2011. This is his improvised speech at the ceremony. I find it really moving, a speech from his heart. 



In his speech Leonard Cohen mentioned the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, whom he has admired for a long time. Cohen´s song "Take This Waltz"´s lyrics are, in fact, based on  the words of Lorca´s poem "Pequeño Vals Vienés" (“Little Viennese Waltz”). This is the video of the song - the video was filmed in Granada, Spain;  Leonard Cohen is shown in the house of Federico Garcia Lorca:


Compare the poem and the lyrics of the song

FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA, Pequeño Vals Vienés

En Viena hay diez muchachas,
un hombro donde solloza la muerte
y un bosque de palomas disecadas.

Hay un fragmento de la mañana
en el museo de la escarcha.
Hay un salón con mil ventanas.

¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals con la boca cerrada.

Este vals, este vals, este vals, este vals,
de sí, de muerte y de coñac
que moja su cola en el mar.

Te quiero, te quiero, te quiero,
con la butaca y el libro muerto,
por el melancólico pasillo,
en el oscuro desván del lirio,
en nuestra cama de la luna
y en la danza que sueña la tortuga.

¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals de quebrada cintura.

En Viena hay cuatro espejos
donde juegan tu boca y los ecos.
Hay una muerte para piano
que pinta de azul a los muchachos.
Hay mendigos por los tejados,
hay frescas guirnaldas de llanto.

¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals que se muere en mis brazos.

Porque te quiero, te quiero, amor mío,
en el desván donde juegan los niños,
soñando viejas luces de Hungría
por los rumores de la tarde tibia,
viendo ovejas y lirios de nieve
por el silencio oscuro de tu frente.

¡Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Toma este vals, este vals del "Te quiero siempre".

En Viena bailaré contigo
con un disfraz que tenga
cabeza de río.

¡Mira qué orillas tengo de jacintos!
Dejaré mi boca entre tus piernas,
mi alma en fotografías y azucenas,
y en las ondas oscuras de tu andar
quiero, amor mío, amor mío, dejar,
violín y sepulcro, las cintas del vals.


LEONARD COEN´S “Take This Waltz”

Now in Vienna there's ten pretty women
there's a shoulder where death comes to cry
there's a lobby with nine hundred windows.

There's a tree where the doves go to die
there's a piece that was torn from the morning
and it hangs in the gallery of frost.

Ay, ay, ay, ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz.

Take this waltz with the clamp on its jaws
oh I want you, I want you, I want you
on a chair with a dead magazine.

In the cave at the tip of the lily
in some hallways where love's never been
on a bed where the moon has been sweating
in a cry filled with footsteps and sand.

Ay, ay, ay, ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz.
Take its broken waist in your hand.

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
with its very own breath of brandy and death
dragging its tail in the sea.

There's a concert hall in Vienna
where your mouth had a thousand reviews
there's a bar where the boys have stopped talking
they've been sentenced to death by the blues.

Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
with a garland of freshly cut tears?.

Ay, ay, ay, ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz.
Take this waltz it's been dying for years.

There's an attic where children are playing
where I've got to lie down with you soon
in a dream of Hungarian lanterns
in the mist of some sweet afternoon
and I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow
all your sheep and your lilies of snow.

Ay, ay, ay, ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz.
With its "I'll never forget you, you know!".

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz...

Take its broken waist in your hand

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging its tail in the sea


And I'll dance with you in Vienna
I'll be wearing a river's disguise
the hyacinth wild on my shoulder,
my mouth on the dew of your thighs
and I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook,
with the photographs there, and the moss.

And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty
my cheap violin and my cross
and you'll carry me down on your dancing
to the pools that you lift on your wrist.

Oh my love, Oh my love
Take this waltz, take this waltz.
It's yours now. It's all that there is


Click here to read Leonard Cohen´s speech in Spanish and here for its Google translation into English

Here are the links to my favourite songs by Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah and Suzanne

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