Monday, 13 January 2020
A whole new horizon.
Last week I went to see the much acclaimed musical "A Girl from the North Country". It was superb!
What I experienced was a completely new appreciation of Bob Dylan's songs. The creators of this musical have delved into the 1930s and 1940s of America's mid-west and unearthed the deeper pathos of those years, which formed Dylan's own vision of life, and which we experience in the span of his songwriting.
Dylan had this pathos 'built into him', and it has flowed out of him in word and music. It is particularly the hardness of life, its struggles amidst hopes and glimpses of light and goodness, which this musical and Dylan's songs have brought to life. No wonder there is great depth in his songs!
This musical brought a completely new horizon into vision, one which has escaped me until now. The commentators of Dylan's music that I have encountered have largely come from the 'drugs, sex and rock and roll' culture, and I don't think that they have been able to get beneath Dylan's 'wordsmith' language and the very sound in which he expresses it. I wonder if Bob Dylan himself is aware of the depth of historical pathos which his songs contain. Sometimes it needs someone else to express for us the depth of what we want to say.
All I can say is: if you are able, go and see this musical before the season ends.
The 1930s and 40s stand in contrast to our our era; I wonder what pathos will come from the beginning of the new millennium, and who will express it (better than B16.)
The implicit pathos of many of Dylan's songs is perhaps what attracts so many to them. In an era of superficial happiness there is something much deeper which holds us. In that place God is freer to act.