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Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach
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Special Offers and Product Promotions
- 20-minute "Making of" (from a historical TV documentary, featuring interviews with Jean-Marie Straub and Gustav Leonhardt)
- DVD case booklet featuring essay by critic Armond White, note from Gustav Leonhardt, details on Bach selections in film.
Top Customer Reviews
This movie, a DVD of a film of the late 60s, presents Johann Sebastian Bach through 2 avenues: (1) a (ficititious) diary (the Chronicle) of Anna Magdalena Bach, the composer's second wife, and (2) the music of J.S.Bach itself. It is in German, with English subtitles.
The Chronicle, if not authentic, has been created from actual letters and descriptions taken from writings of the time, so that the language and feel is utterly authentic. We have Bach reading from his own letters (which appear translated--in summary--in the subtitles, of course), and so the literary aspect of the movie: the script, that is, is creative in the sense that the screenplay recedes almost to the background. We hear Anna Magdalena, in voice-over, reading her journal, and we get an almost painful look at the beauty of Bach's music against the deaths of more than half his children. Infant mortality in those days were high, but it took its toll, surely.
The acting has been deliberately kept to a minimum. What they have tried to do is to create a pseudo-documentary, that achieves the goal of throwing us back into the 18th century, to show just how different life was, back then, and as part of it, how different music was.
It is well recognized that Bach's music, as well as those of his contemporaries (almost any music, in fact, I suppose) has to be understood in relation to the times in which it was written. While Bach's music can impress anyone, despite our ignorance of the cultural context of it, thousands will attest to the fact that the attempt to try to understand Bach's life and times is infinitely rewarding. Travel is broadening, and this movie is travel in time.Read more ›
I saw this movie at least thirty years ago, but I remember the impression it made on me vividly, which is perhaps the most ardent praise I could confer on any movie. I'm amazed and pleased to discover that it's been re-released.
The reviewer who complains that it's boring has to be taken seriously. I think that if you're not fanatically committed to the music of Bach, you will find the whole thing colorless and slow. And I know enough about Bach--his life, his family, his community in late Baroque Germany--to declare that this is hardly an accurate biographical portrayal. It is what it is, an eloquent expression of the director's and the performers' obsession with the greatest composer of history.
The entire film is done with incredible precision--every shot is placed and timed exactly right. You even get a feel for the ornate and cramped spaces of the churches where musicians originally performed some of Bach's cantatas. If you approach this film with an open mind, The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach is at once triumphant and tragic, a deeply moving and magisterial work.
1. The microphones are always were the cameras are. No "artificial" sound differences.
2. The cameras are always placed where a normal person would stand/sit. Hence, there are no "artificial" shots.
3. The pieces selected are played in their entirety so there are no cut offs or sound bits.
The narration is well done. Also this DVD offers interviews with the cast/crew that help in an appreciation of the film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The only film of Gustave Leonhardt playing the role of J.S. Bach in this movie dated from 1968, became an absorbing and fascinating bio around the life and times of J.S. Read morePublished on October 26, 2013 by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
I saw this film three times in college, and it left such an indelible impression on me that I had to own it, and share it with others. Read morePublished on March 15, 2013 by Gisele Zeitler
This DVD did not arrive very quickly.
When I put it into my DVD player I was faced with a warning:
"Playback prohibited by area limitations" on the screen. Read more
This film is a bit catatonic. Otoh, it is probably so intentionally, but then, I'm not sure what the director wanted to say through his unusual script; maybe it was radical in... Read morePublished on March 18, 2010 by Ghost(Ghost(M))
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