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"Bob Dylan as Richard Wagner" (recent article)
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g***@gmail.com
2016-10-16 09:29:27 UTC
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http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/bob-dylan-as-richard-wagner
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-10-18 16:11:53 UTC
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Post by g***@gmail.com
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/bob-dylan-as-richard-wagner
Anyone who's written a newspaper column knows the temptation, especially as deadline day draws near -- it may be cheap, it may be impossible to justify, it may need all sorts of flummery in the text; but what the hell, it's a headline!

Mike
C.Z.
2017-04-06 23:47:58 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by g***@gmail.com
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/bob-dylan-as-richard-wagner
Anyone who's written a newspaper column knows the temptation, especially as deadline day draws near -- it may be cheap, it may be impossible to justify, it may need all sorts of flummery in the text; but what the hell, it's a headline!
Mike
Dylan has written of his dislike for Wagner's music. Since he's as mercurial as Trump, next year he may love it. In any case, as a great fan of both, I enjoyed this article. Dylan's music gets short shrift because of his lyrics.
I hear it the other way round, though as with Wagner the two cannot really be separated.
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-04-09 12:25:05 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
Dylan has written of his dislike for Wagner's music. Since he's as mercurial as Trump, next year he may love it. In any case, as a great fan of both, I enjoyed this article. Dylan's music gets short shrift because of his lyrics.
I hear it the other way round, though as with Wagner the two cannot really be separated.
Dylan's accomplishment, however one regards it, is a great deal narrower and more limited than Wagner's -- not to mention much more driven by canny marketing and image promotion. Of which this offhandedness about the prize seems to be part and parcel, as was Dylan's move to electric. on the evidence -- and I am not the only person to see this -- Dylan is a cool, practical businessman adept at giving his public the pose they want. In that he has more in common with Meyerbeer than Wagner.

Mike
C.Z.
2017-04-10 15:18:03 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Dylan has written of his dislike for Wagner's music. Since he's as mercurial as Trump, next year he may love it. In any case, as a great fan of both, I enjoyed this article. Dylan's music gets short shrift because of his lyrics.
I hear it the other way round, though as with Wagner the two cannot really be separated.
Dylan's accomplishment, however one regards it, is a great deal narrower and more limited than Wagner's -- not to mention much more driven by canny marketing and image promotion. Of which this offhandedness about the prize seems to be part and parcel, as was Dylan's move to electric. on the evidence -- and I am not the only person to see this -- Dylan is a cool, practical businessman adept at giving his public the pose they want. In that he has more in common with Meyerbeer than Wagner.
Mike
Dylan's move to electric singlehandedly created a whole new genre of music, out of folk music and and rock 'n roll. Not that he evidently intended to do that. A bit more than a marketing move, I think.
C.Z.
2017-04-10 15:23:39 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Dylan has written of his dislike for Wagner's music. Since he's as mercurial as Trump, next year he may love it. In any case, as a great fan of both, I enjoyed this article. Dylan's music gets short shrift because of his lyrics.
I hear it the other way round, though as with Wagner the two cannot really be separated.
Dylan's accomplishment, however one regards it, is a great deal narrower and more limited than Wagner's -- not to mention much more driven by canny marketing and image promotion. Of which this offhandedness about the prize seems to be part and parcel, as was Dylan's move to electric. on the evidence -- and I am not the only person to see this -- Dylan is a cool, practical businessman adept at giving his public the pose they want. In that he has more in common with Meyerbeer than Wagner.
Mike
Dylan's move to electric singlehandedly created a whole new genre of music, out of folk music and and rock 'n roll. Not that he evidently intended to do that. A bit more than a marketing move, I think.
C.Z.
2017-04-10 15:37:48 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Dylan has written of his dislike for Wagner's music. Since he's as mercurial as Trump, next year he may love it. In any case, as a great fan of both, I enjoyed this article. Dylan's music gets short shrift because of his lyrics.
I hear it the other way round, though as with Wagner the two cannot really be separated.
Dylan's accomplishment, however one regards it, is a great deal narrower and more limited than Wagner's -- not to mention much more driven by canny marketing and image promotion. Of which this offhandedness about the prize seems to be part and parcel, as was Dylan's move to electric. on the evidence -- and I am not the only person to see this -- Dylan is a cool, practical businessman adept at giving his public the pose they want. In that he has more in common with Meyerbeer than Wagner.
Mike
Dylan's move to electric singlehandedly created a whole new genre of music, out of folk music and and rock 'n roll. Not that he evidently intended to do that. A bit more than a marketing move, I think.
To expand on that a bit, it would be good to give a few other examples. Classical music evolved for the most part without decisive outside influences, so it's hard to give an example there. But an analogous example would be bebop's adoption of the expanded harmonies of Wagner, Debussy, et al. to change 1930s jazz into a new kind of music. If not for Dylan, by the Beatles' own testimony their music might never have evolved beyond teen rock. And the Rolling Stones might have played nothing but the blues. Not to speak of the many other songwriters influenced by Dylan's example. And there is more than a fusion of rock and folk there, as he opened up new subjects to write songs on, much beyond previous popular songs' limited range.
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-04-10 18:14:32 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
Dylan's move to electric singlehandedly created a whole new genre of music, out of folk music and and rock 'n roll. Not that he evidently intended to do that. A bit more than a marketing move, I think.
I'm afraid electric folk existed before Dylan, though mostly in Europe and without a distinctive genre name. I know; I was listening to it, and later playing it. Dylan was simply taking up another coming style, as he did with so many. What he did do was polarize the two into different schools, with left-inclined oldies like Ewen McColl both distrusting the commercial nature of the change and its distancing from genuine folk tradition. That's not to deny Dylan was an influential artist, of course, in his way and within his limits; but in the context of the Wagner comparison, he wasn't that kind of pioneering creative original.

Cheers,

Mike
kevemaher
2017-04-27 08:55:58 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
Dylan's move to electric singlehandedly created a whole new genre of music, out of folk music and and rock 'n roll. Not that he evidently intended to do that. A bit more than a marketing move, I think.
I'm afraid electric folk existed before Dylan, though mostly in Europe and without a distinctive genre name. I know; I was listening to it, and later playing it. Dylan was simply taking up another coming style, as he did with so many. What he did do was polarize the two into different schools, with left-inclined oldies like Ewen McColl both distrusting the commercial nature of the change and its distancing from genuine folk tradition. That's not to deny Dylan was an influential artist, of course, in his way and within his limits; but in the context of the Wagner comparison, he wasn't that kind of pioneering creative original.
Cheers,
Mike
As a young teenager, I was "electrified" by Dylan both before and after his big change. He showed me that lyrics and music could be more than bubblegum pop and jingoistic politics. Nearly singlehandedly, he forced me to listen, to feel to open. It sure felt like he was speaking directly to me. Later, as a young adult Wagner would have a very similar effect on me, one that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Dylan opened the door, but Wagner remains the lifelong companion. I sincerely thank Bobbie Dylan for that.
C.Z.
2017-05-19 15:05:15 UTC
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I would reply but have already covered most of what I would say in my later post of the same day. However, just to add, the expansion of subject matter beyond the limited range of prior popular songs which dealt only with infatuation and loss, into a whole new range of subjects, was more than merely influential -- it was a sea change. And the music that went with it was almost equally powerful .
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-05-24 15:17:27 UTC
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Post by C.Z.
I would reply but have already covered most of what I would say in my later post of the same day. However, just to add, the expansion of subject matter beyond the limited range of prior popular songs which dealt only with infatuation and loss, into a whole new range of subjects, was more than merely influential -- it was a sea change. And the music that went with it was almost equally powerful .
As I have rather compromised eyesight at the moment (although much recovered, with thanks to wellwishers) for a moment I read that as "sex change".

Even apart from that, though, I must admit I'm slightly baffled by Dylan's importance in some people's lives. Which isn't a criticism, or any form of cultural snobbery; in his era I was listening to and playing folk, British and American, including associated artists, notably Joan Baez, and I still enjoy them. Dylan has always seemed rather manufactured by comparison. OK, matter of taste, and no doubt I'm missing something. But the original post compared Dylan to Wagner, and that I feel goes beyond any personal preference or assessment. In the 1960s elderly music critics were comparing Paul McCartney to Schubert, and I can't wear that either. The gulf in breadth and depth of creation seems self-evidently immense. Schubert's symphonies? Wagner's music-dramas? Against a relatively limited range of songs in a fairly restricted style, whether acoustic or electric? It doesn't make sense to me -- and doesn't have to, really. Time has better judgement than I do. But I do register disagreement, though amicable.

Cheers,

Mike
C.Z.
2017-06-02 04:34:39 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by C.Z.
I would reply but have already covered most of what I would say in my later post of the same day. However, just to add, the expansion of subject matter beyond the limited range of prior popular songs which dealt only with infatuation and loss, into a whole new range of subjects, was more than merely influential -- it was a sea change. And the music that went with it was almost equally powerful .
As I have rather compromised eyesight at the moment (although much recovered, with thanks to wellwishers) for a moment I read that as "sex change".
Even apart from that, though, I must admit I'm slightly baffled by Dylan's importance in some people's lives. Which isn't a criticism, or any form of cultural snobbery; in his era I was listening to and playing folk, British and American, including associated artists, notably Joan Baez, and I still enjoy them. Dylan has always seemed rather manufactured by comparison. OK, matter of taste, and no doubt I'm missing something. But the original post compared Dylan to Wagner, and that I feel goes beyond any personal preference or assessment. In the 1960s elderly music critics were comparing Paul McCartney to Schubert, and I can't wear that either. The gulf in breadth and depth of creation seems self-evidently immense. Schubert's symphonies? Wagner's music-dramas? Against a relatively limited range of songs in a fairly restricted style, whether acoustic or electric? It doesn't make sense to me -- and doesn't have to, really. Time has better judgement than I do. But I do register disagreement, though amicable.
Cheers,
Mike
"Even apart from that, though, I must admit I'm slightly baffled by Dylan's importance in some people's lives. Which isn't a criticism, or any form of cultural snobbery; in his era I was listening to and playing folk, British and American, including associated artists, notably Joan Baez, and I still enjoy them. Dylan has always seemed rather manufactured by comparison. OK, matter of taste, and no doubt I'm missing something..."

Very possibly. Without intending anything pejorative, and trying to be amicable also, I bring up a classical fan I sparred with years ago on an online music forum, who loved Handel and thought Bach was exactly the kind of fussy pedagogue and second-rate composer he was mostly considered to be in the mid-18th century. Nothing would move his opinion a whit. Unlike yourself, he would never have admitted he was quite possibly missing something.

Whether Dylan is in Wagner's league is a question I leave to others and perhaps a poorly chosen subject for comparison. I do think along with many others that he is a major creative artist who virtually single-handedly founded a school. And 500 songs, many inspired, many blues, many ballads, many rock, many in other styles, is not to my ears exactly a limited range.
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