English Blog

A Movie “The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach” (1968 film)

May 15, 2023

To the surprise of some of his associates, a renowned period keyboard player, musicologist, and conductor, Gustav Leonhardt, accepted the role as Johann Sebastian Bach (played in a wig) in this movie. And Anna Magdalena Bach is played by Christiane Lang. “The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach” consists of many excerpts from Johann Sebastian Bach’s various works, presented in chronological order played by great musicians in period cloths. (and I am sure they used the period instruments.) The music was recorded in the locations where many of Bach’s music was premiered. Along with the music, Anna Magdalena Bach reads her husband’s correspondences and texts. Her reading voice in the movie is often emotionless which contradicts Bach’s historical facts. As a musician myself, I knew most of the facts presented in this movie, but I enjoyed watching “The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach.” There is a lot of humor hidden. There are a lot of husband-wife conflicts hidden.

J. S. Bach went through many difficulties, often caused by his stubbornness because he is a true human being. He often signed “Soli Deo Gloria” (To the Glory of God Alone) at the end of his compositions, and that is the true meaning of his music. “The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach” is an excellent movie for many reasons and for many people.