Authenticity as a Political Act: Straub-Huillet’s Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach and the Post-War Bach Revival

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kailan Rubinoff, Assistant Professor of Musicology (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: In February 1968, a fateful year perhaps better remembered for its political upheavals, student uprisings, assassinations and the escalation of the Vietnam War than its cinematic achievements, a curiously backward-looking film premiered at the 1968 Cinemanifestatie Festival in Utrecht.1[1] The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, directed by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, reconstructs the life of Johann Sebastian Bach through an examination of his music and documents, and stars the Dutch harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt as the composer.2[2] The film, which consists mainly of musical performances of Bach‘s music, is narrated from the perspective of his second wife, portrayed by Christiane Lang-Drewanz, who recounts the activities of their day-to-day life in Cöthen and Leipzig.3[3] How could an austere film about Bach‘s life and music, set in a remote eighteenth-century sound- and landscape, have been produced in the midst of the ferment and discontent of the late 1960s?

Additional Information

Music and Politics
Language: English
Date: 2011
Music, Music History, Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

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