The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968)

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The widow of Bach reminisces in this biography. Her life with the great composer was not easy. He seldom spoke to her. When he did, it was only to read letters of complaint. Included are performances of Bach's works including the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, Prelude 6 from the "Little Clavier Book for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Minuet 2 of the Suite in D Minor from the "Little Clavier Book for Anna Magdalena Bach, Sonata No. 2 in D Major for Viola and Harpsichord, Partita in E Minor from the "Little Clavier Book for Anna Magdalena Bach, Trio-sonata No. 2 in C Minor, Magnificat in D Major, "St. Matthew Passion, Prelude in B Minor for Organ, Mass in B Minor, Ascension Oratorio, Clavier-Uebung Italian Concerto, Goldberg Variations, Musical Offering, Art of the Fugue Corale for Organ, and Cantatas No. 205, 198, 244, 42, 215, 140, 82. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

The Chronicle Of Anna Magdalena Bach disregards most conventions of costume drama to ask some very human questions about history, what it takes to be an artist, and what movies can tell us about ourselves.

Mar 2, 2018 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Straub and Huillet invite us to ponder, as the music washes over us, what we can know and what we can't - and to wonder at what here is also false.

Mar 2, 2018 | Full Review…

While the film is mostly focused on the music and the settings in which it was originally played, Anna Magdalena's voice guides us, providing the film's peculiar, illusive texture.

Nov 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Straub-Huillet both depict and impose such conditions on their viewers, making for a refreshing break from 2018.

Oct 24, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Revival of this radically minimalist 1968 biopic should pique wider interest in the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet.

Mar 1, 2018 | Full Review…

I can't think of a musical biopic I liked better.

Mar 23, 2006 | Rating: A+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

my straub/huillet odyssey begins. the film is very austere and very beautiful. enjoy the music but don't expect an ordinary biopic

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

In trying to learn about great artists of the past, the one thing we should be concentrating on is whatever creative projects survive to the present day, and worry less about what made them great. Along these same lines, this film takes a modestly revolutionary step by putting the truly wonderful music of Johann Sebastian Bach(Gustav Leonhardt) front of center, as explained in the making-of documentary. Framing the sublime sounds is the life of the composer as narrated by Anna Magdalena(Christiane Lang), Johann's second wife, filling in the gaps of their personal struggles and his career, with minimal extrapolation. One particular episode stands out with Johann's tutorial explaining not only a particular musical instrumment but also the sounds of the era.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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