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Bach's Fight for Freedom

4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(May 28, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

It's not easy being a musical genius, particularly in an age when artists depend on nobility for their bread and butter. Part of HBO's composer series, Bach's Fight for Freedom is the story of Johann Sebastian Bach and his relationship with Frederick, a young servant in the house of Duke Wilhelm, for whom they both work. Bach wants the freedom to compose many different kinds of music, but the duke only wants traditional organ music. Frederick wants to be a stone mason, but his family members have been servants to the duke for generations. Through their friendship, Frederick and Bach find the strength to break traditions and achieve their dreams. The story is based on the true incident when Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Sachsen-Weimer imprisoned Bach for wanting to resign his position and work for another nobleman. This video won the Oppenheim Golden Seal Award for Best Children's Videos and the Kids First Award for Best Children's Video. Recommended for ages six to 12. ~ Heather M. Fierst, Rovi

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ted Dykstra, Kyle Labine, Ian D. Clark, Rosemary Dunsmore, Kevin Jublinville
  • Directors: Staurt Gillard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Digital Sound, Dolby, Full length, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Devine Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 28, 2002
  • Run Time: 53 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EZ8F94
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,310 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Like the other videos in this series (Beethoven Lives Upstairs, etc.), this story focuses on only a short time of the composer's life. It will not serve as a total biography of Bach, or introduction to all of Baroque music. But what it does so successfully is engage the young viewers' interest in the period, setting, and some of the music of Mr. Bach. By inserting a young actor/character in these videos, the producers have successfully created a link to the young viewers. This is a fine story, and can open up a world of further inquiry to Bach, his life, times, and music. (And adults will enjoy it too!)
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Format: VHS Tape
This video offers an excellent window into the personality of Johann Sebastian Bach although it is as much fiction as fact. I highly recommend this for children who have an interest in learning about the great composer, or even teenagers would enjoy it. It is about as accurate as "Amadeus" was about Mozart: some myth, some screenplay, and many historically accurate facts as well. Overall, this is a valuable story about one of our greatest composers, and it is in many ways a praiseworthy film.
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Format: VHS Tape
I show this to third grade elementary general music students each school year. It is, at the very least, a way to show what people may have looked like in Bach's time. Bach's music is played throughout, which is wonderful. The most appealing thing is that it is a fun story for children to watch. That's enough all by itself.

The only thing that concerns me is the fiction. Bach was a man deeply faithful in his place and duty before God as a musician. This doesn't come across in the least. Unfortunately, one's religion almost never makes it to the final cut of children's movies no matter how vital it is to the truth and reality about a person of historical significance. That seems to be more artistic license than ought to be allowed.

Just the same, the story is fun. If this helps a child become interested in Bach, the Baroque period or classical music at all, or inspires in any way a child to one day know more of the truth about the real Johann Sebastian Bach, I give it a thumb up.
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By A Customer on March 16, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film provides an excellent and tantalizing peek into the life and work of J.S. Bach, as well as the time on which he lived. I have used this with students in a public school and found that they were captivated and became greatly interested, not only in Bach and his music, but also in the lives and music of other great composers.
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Format: VHS Tape
Since the videos in this series are just about the only child-friendly introductions to these composers on the market, and children do seem to like them, it is easy to forgive their many flaws. And this one does have MANY flaws. It is chock full of inaccuracies in virtually every scene, has very badly-written dialogue and scenes, falls flat in terms of drama and suspense and goes down in history for one of the worst, most blatant uses of "deus ex machina" at the end that will be sure to disappoint even young children. There's also a scene where an actor holds a recorder to his lips (or at least, close to his lips) while a flute is playing on the soundtrack! Some parents may also disapprove of Bach and other characters drinking what appears to be wine, and Bach's comment about kicking one of the other characters in the ... (his wife stops him short). Nevertheless, the videography is compelling, the music is wonderful, the boy is ADORABLE and children find the Duke to be particularly amusing. To sum up: Despite the movie's drawbacks, there is hardly a better method available to introduce children to Bach and Baroque music in general.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Our daughter loves to watch this video because it keeps her involved with a good story and gets the style of Bach's music into her ears. She now knows who Bach is and enjoys listening to his music outside of what's in this video. The point of these DVDs are to create curiosity, develop love of music, art and science while familiarizing children to important musicians, artists and scienctists. This way, children will not be intimidated by classical music, wonderful art, possibly get inspired to become more involved in science and innovations. We wish there are more!
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I was prepared to dislike this work after having seen the awful companion pieces, "Beethoven Lives Upstairs," and "Liszt's Rhapsody" (see reviews). In contrast, this work is a pleasant surprise.
The scenery (in the Czech Republic) is gorgeous and the photography is superb. The story advances through the eyes of a servant boy in the Duke's palace, a good device for a film aimed at kids. Although there is a lot of "artistic license" with the facts of Bach's life, there is enough music and an interesting enough story to encourage further reading and listening.
And what better result, for children especially, could you ask?
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Format: VHS Tape
This was one of the deepest, and still educational, movies I have seen in a long time. I am a huge fan of Bach and I am pleased with this tormented and misunderstood portrayal of the man who is Bach. The soundtrack is excellent, the acting superior, and the story, though mostly fiction, is convincing and makes the movie that much more interesting.
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