Host John Clare spoke to Corigliano about his Mr. Tambourine Man, Seven Poems of Bob Dylan...
John Clare: "Two people I would not put together, Bob Dylan and John Corigliano but there’s a lovely singer involved. How do those inspirations kick start? Was this something that came about with the singer? Was it something that someone said oh, check out these songs?"
|John Corigliano and John Clare|
So I took these lyrics or poems - they are wonderful poems, and I was setting them as I would set you know Emily Dickson or Goethe. I was just setting them as a composer of my world setting words I thought were very important. And the result of that was a song cycle that some people love and some people don’t want to hear. I know a lot Dylan people who don’t want to hear this piece. They think it’s strange because we always think of the sacrilegious part - oh say how dare you play Mozart with a pop thing or whatever - and it’s always the classical people. I have found that the folk, pop people can be very ridged about the fact that you are taking Dylan into your world. I don’t think I would have minded if I had a pop version of my music but that’s not what I am. I simply wrote and reflected the words. Another thing about it is Dylan like many folk composers, he wrote an melody and his emotional tale kinda rides over the melody. It isn’t reflected in the melody so he’ll write, he’ll have the same music per verse in which many things happen and many different emotions are displayed - they don’t get reflected in the music.
And I understand that and that’s fine and I appreciate and respect that. But one of the things about art music whether it’s St. Matthew Passion or something else is the idea that these words can be reflected in this music and that’s what I did. So it will be music that will have three different kinds of listeners. One is a novice who will listen to it and say I love these words and I see this music means something or it doesn’t to me. One will be a Dylan supporter who will say I don’t want to hear it because it’s not right to do that. And the third person will be who love Dylan who also get a fascination out of listening to a piece in which both things are happening. That is they hear my piece and they hear Dylan’s piece at the same time. And it’s very interesting for audiences. They really like it...to play these pieces because Blowin in the Wind, they hear the Dylan song and my song at the same timed because they know Dylan so well that when the words happen it just goes into those . But than they hear my cadences and my world and its different and they find that interesting. And I find that interesting abstractly too."