Leonard Cohen, Russian liturgical music among Prince Charles’ favorites
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Leonard Cohen, Russian liturgical music among Prince Charles’ favorites

British royal finds the late Jewish Canadian’s music ‘incredibly sophisticated’ and ‘very moving’

Leonard Cohen performing during the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2009 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, April 17, 2009. (Paul Butterfield/Getty Images via JTA)
Leonard Cohen performing during the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2009 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, April 17, 2009. (Paul Butterfield/Getty Images via JTA)

Legendary Canadian Jewish singer Leonard Cohen, an 18th-century opera about rage, and Russian Orthodox liturgical music have been revealed as the musical favorites of Britain’s Prince Charles.

In a special edition of Radio 3’s long-running show Private Passions this week, Charles discussed his personal tastes and the importance of music and the arts in education, the Guardian reported.

“I’ve always loved Leonard Cohen’s voice and his whole approach to the way he sang,” he said. “He was obviously incredibly sophisticated in the way he sang, but also wrote. I find it very moving, the words are so extraordinary, sort of Salvador Dalí-like, they lead you into this remarkable Dalí-like world.”

Cohen died in 2016 aged 82. Earlier this year, he won his first Grammy posthumously for “You Want It Darker,” the meditative title song off his final album that presaged his death. He was a major figure in pop culture and literature, but had few hits in the traditional sense.

Prince Charles seen during the funeral late former President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem, on September 30, 2016. (Emil Salman/Pool)

For the BBC show, Charles chose Cohen’s “Take This Waltz,” a loose adaptation of the poem “Pequeno Vals Vienés” by Federico García Lorca.

Charles said his love of music was inspired by his grandmother, the Queen Mother, and that music lessons were among his favorite times during his school years at Gordonstoun, a private boarding school in Scotland.

“In those days, the early 60s, we had these marvelous music teachers who had escaped the Holocaust in Germany and came to Gordonstoun and taught music there,” he said.

Charles said he’s “one of those people who believes in the importance of arts education and music education in schools.”

“Apart from anything else, I think people forget – or may not realize – what an enormous contribution the creative arts make to the whole economy. It’s immense. So we slightly shoot ourselves in the feet if we ignore it altogether. When you go to schools which still have it [music education], it is wonderful to see the enthusiasm on the part of the children in their orchestras,” he added.

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